The author, a secularist and dove, edits The Jerusalem Report, a superb little Israeli magazine that might have been less likely to be pigeonholed as a liberal bastion if its chief's book had been a bit more temperate. But if Horovitz is too facile on Israel's social strains and its synagogue-and-state follies, he gets the darkest parts of recent Israeli history resoundingly right. The heart of this otherwise genial popular volume is two acrimonious chapters that amount to a howl of despair at the murder of Yitzhak Rabin and the rise of Binyamin Netanyahu. Israeli society prefers not to dwell on the assassination, the killer's explicit attempt to derail the Oslo process by helping elect the right-leaning Likud Party, or the Israeli electorate's willingness in 1996 to give him his way. This book's bracing bitterness makes it an aching reminder of an assassination that came a little too close to consummation and a country that came a little too close to political shipwreck.