Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth (Hardcover)
A “fascinating and very moving” (Aaron Sorkin, award-winning screenwriter of The West Wing and The Social Network) chronological timeline spanning from Biblical times to today that explores one of the most interesting countries in the world—Israel.
Israel. The small strip of arid land is 5,700 miles away but remains a hot-button issue and a thorny topic of debate. But while everyone seems to have a strong opinion about Israel, how many people actually know the facts?
Here to fill in the information gap is Israeli American Noa Tishby. But “this is not your Bubbie’s history book” (Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher). Instead, offering a fresh, 360-degree view, Tishby brings her “passion, humor, and deep intimacy” (Yossi Klein Halevi, New York Times bestselling author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor) to the subject, creating an accessible and dynamic portrait of a tiny country of outsized relevance. Through bite-sized chunks of history and deeply personal stories, Tishby chronicles her homeland’s evolution, beginning in Biblical times and moving forward to cover everything from WWI to Israel’s creation to the disputes dividing the country today. Tackling popular misconceptions with an abundance of facts, Tishby provides critical context around headline-generating controversies and offers a clear, intimate account of the richly cultured country of Israel.
About the Author
Actress, producer, writer, and activist Noa Tishby was born and raised in Tel Aviv. She served two and a half years in the Israeli army before she landed a starring role on the nation’s highest-rated prime time drama Ramat Aviv Gimmel. She became a household name, appearing in numerous TV shows, films, theater productions, and national fashion campaigns, before moving to Los Angeles, where she sold the Israeli TV show In Treatment to HBO, making history as the first Israeli television show to become an American series. She coproduced over 150 episodes, which earned a Peabody Award and twelve Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. A passionate political activist, Tishby founded the nonprofit “Act for Israel,” Israel’s first online advocacy organization, and has become widely known as Israel’s unofficial ambassador.
“Tishby tells her small country’s enormous story with wit and passion. Israel shouldn’t be the only book a reader opens about the Middle East, but it’s an excellent place to start.”
—New York Journal of Books
"A must read."
—Ben Shapiro, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Right Side of History and How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps
“An energetic and intimate popular history of a fraught land…the author’s candid viewpoint offers good food for thought.”
"Brisk and informative"
“In a funny, surprising, and straightforward voice, Noa Tishby rolls the entire history of Israel into a blunt and insightful read. The perfect anti-textbook for anyone who slept through class, this is not your Bubbie’s history book.”
—Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher
“Noa Tishby writes with wit and authority. This is a fascinating—and very moving—book that should be read by anyone for whom Israel is a mystery."
—Aaron Sorkin, award-winning screenwriter of The West Wing and The Social Network
“This is a book well worth the read for anyone who cares about, or needs a crash course on, the Jewish state.”
“With passion, humor and deep intimacy, Noa Tishby reveals the real Israel that continually eludes even many so-called experts. Refreshingly straightforward, Tishby manages to be “simple” but not simplistic. She knows that real love requires honesty, and so she confronts Israel in its sometimes maddening complexity.”
—Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and author of the New York Times bestseller Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
"In this book Noa does what she does best, rising to the challenge of expressing a rooted, spirited, and often personal defense of her homeland when so many others have shied away. Good people like Noa do not remain silent when all else around them is failing. They speak up. Now that we have her toolkit, so must we.”
—Maajid Nawaz, author of Radical and coauthor of Islam and the Future of Tolerance
“Noa Tishby’s contemporary examination of Israel’s past, present and future is the book we’ve been waiting for. With insight, intelligence, levity and humor, she reintroduces us to a place we thought we knew so well. I found myself educated, inspired and ultimately moved to tears as she reclaims this complicated state in the name of its daughters and fights to restore its reputation for the next generation.”
—Sarah Treem, writer, director, Golden Globe winner, creator of The Affair
"Noa Tishby bravely provides a guide to understanding Israel through the personal story of her family. More than anything, this is a hopeful book that calls for a peaceful tomorrow through a courageous look at the past.”
—Gideon Raff, creator of Prisoners of War and The Spy and Emmy-winning screenwriter and executive producer of Homeland
“Noa Tishby is whip-smart, charming, funny, frank, and fearless. So is her book. Here is the real story of Israel told by a natural storyteller. Touching and captivating.”
—Rabbi David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart
“Everything to do with this subject is controversial, but Noa Tishby doesn't shy away. In fact, she leans into it with conviction (and good writing), making the book an engaging and provocative invitation to debate.”
—Rodrigo Garcia, screenwriter and director
“Heartfelt, funny, and genuine – for anyone confused by the furious debates about Israel, time spent with Noa Tishby’s book feels less like a college class than like drinks with a smart and passionate friend.”
—Matti Friedman, New York Times op-ed contributor and author of Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel.
"Noa Tishby's book is a powerful antidote to the widespread misunderstanding and willful misrepresentation that often obscures the truth about Israel. Much like the book itself, Noa is a fearless truth teller in an age of fashionable lies.”
—Congressman Ritchie Torres (D, NY15)
“A timely and significant work, Tishby’s ISRAEL is essential reading for Arabs, Jews, Americans and the rest of the world. As an Arab reader, I am a son of that region, and yet reading the book I learned a lot about my birthplace and saw the other side of the paradox that was invisible to me. This book is supported by hard facts—not for the purpose of argument or debate, but rather, to build bridges between the Jewish and Arab worlds. The result is a beautiful and inspiring human journey which allowed me to learn more about my birthplace, my precious Jewish neighbors and our homeland.”
—Mosab Hasan Yousef, bestselling author of Son of Hamas and star of the documentary The Green Prince
"Having lived in Jerusalem for two years, I can assure the outsider that it is not possible to understand the modern Jewish state without an insider to guide you. Noa Tishby has written this book from that perspective to update our understanding of Israel for the 21st century. This is an important book by an essential voice struggling to find the hidden order within the balagan (Hebrew for chaos) that is the common linchpin of the world’s 3.8 Billion Abrahamic adherents.”
—Eric Weinstein, mathematician, managing director of Thiel Capital, and host of The Portal
"Noa Tishby provides a unique and remarkable perspective on Israel. An insightful writer and powerful woman, she creates a lasting image of the country's entrepreneurial spirit and contributions across the world.”
—Ray Kurzweil, Inventor, Author, and Futurist