Jewish Terrorism in Israel

In This Review

Jewish Terrorism in Israel
By Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger
Columbia University Press, 2009
264 pp. $29.50
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Jewish Terrorism in Israel, the second book to appear in the Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare series, sets a high bar for subsequent works. After a brisk treatment of terrorism in ancient Israel (which often inspires today's terrorism), it moves to modern times, documenting not just the well-remembered examples, such as the 1948 assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, Baruch Goldstein's 1994 mass murder in Hebron, and the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin but seemingly every terrorist act by Israeli Jews realized or aborted from 1948 to 2007. Avoiding the pitfalls that generally confront the study of terrorism -- either expressing outrage at such inhumane behavior or dismissing one man's terrorist as another man's freedom fighter -- the authors dispassionately study the backgrounds, social networks, and motives of the terrorists. Several of these case studies are based on interviews with perpetrators quaintly labeled as "retired." Comparing Jewish terrorism to that of Islamists, the authors show that "religious terrorism is not a one-faith phenomenon."