Bregman, Ahron

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Bregman, Ahron

PERSONAL: Born in Israel; immigrated to England. Education: Graduated from Hebrew University; King's College, London, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England Agent—c/o Author Mail, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS England; fax: 440 1256 479476. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Webster University, London, England, lecturer in history; Daily Telegraph, London, staff writer. Television producer, including with Jihan El-Tahri, The Fifty Years' War: Israel and the Arabs (series), 1999. Military service: Israeli Army, became an officer.

WRITINGS:

Civil-Military Relations in Israel Military Influence on War Policy, University of London (London, England), 1994.

Living and Working in Israel: How to Prepare for a Successful Longterm Stay, Trans-Atlantic Publications (Philadelphia, PA), 1996.

(With Jihan el-Tahri) The Fifty Years' War: Israel and the Arabs, TV Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Israel's Wars, 1947–93, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000, 2nd edition published as Israel's Wars: A History since 1947, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.

A History of Israel, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor to newspapers and periodicals in England and the United States, including Armed Forces & Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal and Newsday.

SIDELIGHTS: Historian, educator, and writer Ahron Bregman is the author of numerous books, articles, and monographs on Jewish and Israeli history. In The Fifty Years' War: Israel and the Arabs Bregman and coauthor Jihan el-Tahri offer a "convincing behind-the-scenes look at the Israeli-Arab peacemaking process efforts during the past half-century," demonstrating that attempts at peace started long before the Oslo peace accords in 1993, commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

The book, a companion volume to a Public Broadcasting Service television series produced by Bregman and el-Tahri, draws on "hundreds of in-depth interviews with politicians, soldiers, and journalists from sixteen countries" to provide "the first comprehensive eyewitness account of the history of Israel's relations with its Arab neighbors," remarked a reviewer in Jewish Press. Bregman and el-Tahri explore the many issues surrounding the ancient conflict between Jews and Arabs, and how that conflict intensified after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The authors see the proliferation of violence as a matter of missed chances at diplomacy rather than inevitable clashes between age-old enemies, observed the Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Interview extracts from prominent figures such as King Hussein of Jordan, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, and Egyptian war minister Shams Badrain, plus detailed reports from agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Mossad provide the political background. The authors relate firsthand accounts of contact between Israel and neighboring Arab states, particularly between Israel and Egyptian nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, which suggest that genuine attempts at peace were made throughout Israel's history. Efraim Karsh, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, had strong criticism for the book, stating that among the largest of the book's flaws "is how little it offers to the existing body of knowledge in comparison to standard textbooks and popular histories, not to speak of serious historical studies." Karsh commented that this weakness stems from relying heavily on interviews conducted for the television series without additional corroboration through written records and international archival sources. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called The Fifty Years' War a "a cleanly written book that any reader will learn from," but also cautioned against subtle prejudices in favor of Israel that the critic maintained are displayed by the coauthors.

A History of Israel covers the Israeli national state's history from the 1897 Zionist Congress, through Israel's creation in 1948, to the state of Israel's political condition and relationship with Arab and Palestinian neighbors in the early years of the twenty-first century. Booklist reviewer George Cohen noted Bregman's assertion that "rather than the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy, it was harsh reality that led to the birth and development of Israel." The book covers major political and diplomatic developments, wars and conflicts, peace initiatives, prominent historical figures, and other subjects relevant to Israel's founding and development. Reviewer Fred Rhodes, writing in Middle East, called it an "incisive book" that "will be welcomed by all with an interest in the history of Israel."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1999, Vanessa Bush, review of The Fifty Years' War: Israel and the Arabs, p. 219; January 1, 2003, George Cohen, review of A History of Israel, p. 838.

History Today, May, 2003, review of Israel's Wars: A History since 1947, p. 86.

Jewish Press, January 15, 1999, review of The Fifty Years' War (television documentary), p. 1.

Middle East, June, 2003, Fred Rhodes, review of A History of Israel, p. 64.

Publishers Weekly, August 23, 1999, review of The Fifty Years' War, p. 35.

Spectator, April 4, 1998, Alfred Sherman, "Rushing into Judgment," review of The Fifty Years' War, p. 37.

Times Literary Supplement, April 24, 1998, Efraim Karsh, "Dead Men Tell No Tales," review of The Fifty Years' War.

ONLINE

Freedomwriter.com, http://www.freedomwriter.com/ (February 25, 2003), Abraham Rabinovich, "Top Mossad Spy Exposed in a New Book," review of A History of Israel.