This monumental history shows the decisive impact of the Holocaust on the identity, ideology and politics of Israel. With unflinching honesty, Segev examines the most sensitive and heretofore closed chapters of his country's history, and reveals how this charged legacy has at critical moments (the Exodus affair, the Eichmann trial, the Six-Day War) been molded
The Jewish community of pre-Israel Palestine had a ``less than compassionate response'' to the destruction of European Jewry, charges Segev, an Israeli journalist, in this blockbuster. Palestine's Zionist establishment stereotyped German Jewish immigrants fleeing Nazism as yekkes --cold, blockheaded and alienated from Judaism. The Zionist community's first pained, uncomprehending encounter with the Holocaust survivors, according to Segev, gave rise to the silence that surrounded the Holocaust through the 1950s. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified Israeli documents, Segev ( 1949: The First Israelis ) illuminates secret 1951 German-Israeli negotiations over reparation payments, the ``vengeance operations'' of militant Holocaust survivors against Germany, and controversy over Israel's nuclear weapons program. With great sensitivity, he explores how the collective memory of the Holocaust has shaped Israel's response to a host of issues, from the Adolf Eichmann trial to the Persian Gulf war.