Unpacking Israeli History

Unpacking Israeli History

Go behind the scenes of Israeli history with self-confessed history nerd Noam Weissman. Each week, he offers a fresh perspective on some of the most controversial and interesting events in the country’s history. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about what Israel is all about –from multiple angles and viewpoints — this is the podcast for you.

42 mins

It was the spring of 1948, and in just a few short weeks, the British were scheduled to ship out, leaving Palestine to the Arabs and Jews who had been waging war against each other for six months. But beyond the bombs and the bullets, another war raged behind the scenes. One that continues to this day. The war for the soul of the Jewish state. This is the story of Israel’s declaration of independence — and of its ongoing evolution as a modern state.

42 mins

Today, the Etzion bloc is home to more than 20,000 Jews. But back in 1948, roughly 500 Jews lived in the tiny parcel of land nestled between Hebron and Jerusalem. The four isolated, vulnerable kibbutzim of the bloc were an easy target for Arab attacks. But the Jews of Etzion weren’t going down without a fight. And the Palmach – the Haganah’s elite strike force – would do anything to keep these tiny communities strong and well-supplied. Like sending a convoy of 35 fighters weighed down with supplies through miles of hostile territory. But war is hell. And the story of Gush Etzion, and the brave convoy that supplied it, is both a tragedy – and a story of brotherhood, heroism, and resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

42 mins

You probably know the story of Israeli independence: Ben-Gurion declared a Jewish state on May 14, 1948. The next day, multiple Arab armies invaded. And though the war was long and brutal, the Jewish state emerged victorious. That story is true, but it’s incomplete. The war for Israel didn’t start on May 15, 1948. It started back in November of 1947, the morning after the UN voted to partition Palestine into two states. If you want to understand Israeli history, you have to understand the six bloody months that preceded its creation.

37 mins

The modern state of Israel is only 75 years old. But the Israeli identity was forged long before the partition vote of 1947 or the War of Liberation in 1948, in the earliest decades of the 20th century. The three figures we’ll talk about today were not Israelis. They died before they ever saw an independent Jewish state. But their stories shaped the country we know today.

37 mins

November 19, 1977. It was perhaps the most unusual Shabbat in Israel’s history. Because after the havdala service, Israeli families glued themselves to their TVs or radios, waiting anxiously for a visitor they never dreamed would arrive. Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, had come to Jerusalem to speak of peace. What happened next changed the Middle East forever.

38 mins

You’ve heard their name, watched their propaganda videos, and seen their bloody handiwork up close and personal. But how well do you really know the story of Hamas?

This episode delves into the surprising history of Israel’s charming next-door neighbor. It’s a deep dive into their history, ideology and legacy. If we want to truly understand Israeli history, we’ve got to face the parallel history that has developed alongside it.

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