Falk, Avner 1943–

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Falk, Avner 1943–

PERSONAL: Born April 2, 1943, in Palestine (now Israel); son of Meir E. and Ada R.S. Falk. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, B.Soc.Sc., 1965, graduate study, 1965–66, postdoctoral study, 1972–73; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, Ph.D., 1970.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—6 Caspi St., 93554 Jerusalem, Israel; fax: 972-2-673-7617. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Psychologist and writer. Jerusalem Psychiatric Hostel and Halfway House, Jerusalem, Israel, junior psychologist, 1966; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, trainee at Child Guidance Clinic, 1966–67; Missouri Institute of Psychiatry, intern, 1967–68; St. Louis State Hospital, St. Louis, intern in clinical psychology, 1967–68; Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, St. Louis, intern in clinical psychology, 1968–69; City of St. Louis, staff psychologist at Child Guidance Clinic, 1970–71; private practice of psychotherapy, 1971–; Talbiyeh Mental Health Center, Jerusalem, clinical psychologist in outpatient services, 1971–72; Sarah Herzog Mental Health Center (Ezrat Nashim), Jerusalem, supervising clinical psychologist, 1972–82; Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center, supervising clinical psychologist, 1973–75; Etanim Mental Health Center, supervising clinical psychologist, 1975–83; Shorashim Center for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, lecturer, 1987–94; Teachers Association for the Advancement of Education, Jerusalem, lecturer, 1995–97.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, clinical lecturer in psychiatry, 1976–79, Harry S. Truman Institute for Peace Studies, lecturer, 1988; Hadassah Medical School, clinical lecturer, 1976–79; Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center, Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy, resident scholar, 1987; Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem Campus, teacher of Jewish history, 1988–89. Guest lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Tavistock Institute, London, England, 1982; Bar-Ilan University and University of Leiden, 1983; University of Vienna and Free University of Brussels, 1984; Theological School of Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome, 1986; Brookings Institution, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and University of California, Irvine, all 1989; Martin Buber Center for Adult Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1990–96; B'nai B'rith Society, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1990–98; Teachers Association for the Advancement of Education, Jerusalem, 1995–97; Center for Asian Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1998; Round Room Forum, The Harry S. Truman Institute Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2005. Military service: Israel Defense Forces, member of Academic Reserve, 1960–62, reserve mental health officer in Medical Corps, 1962–95; retired rank: captain.

MEMBER: Israel Psychological Association (1971–97), Israel Association for Psychotherapy (1978–95), International Society of Political Psychology, International Napoleonic Society (fellow), American Historical Association (and its Group for the Use of Psychology in History).

AWARDS, HONORS: Outstanding Academic Title, American Library Association, 2005, for Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.


Moshe Dayan, halsh veha Agadah: Biographia Psychoanalytith (title means "Moshe Dayan, the Man and the Myth: A Psychoanalytic Biography"), Cana (Jerusalem, Israel), 1985.

David Melech Yisrael: Biographia Psychoanalytith shel David Ben-Gurion (title means "David King of Israel: A Psychoanalytic Biography of David Ben-Gurion"), Tammuz (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1987.

Herzl, King of the Jews: A Psychoanalytic Biography of Theodor Herzl, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1993.

A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1996.

Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 2004.

Napoleon Bonaparte: A Psychobiography, Pitchstone (Los Angeles, CA), 2006

Contributor to books, including Maps from the Mind: Readings in Psychogeography, edited by H.F. Stein and W.G. Niederland, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1989. Contributor of numerous articles and reviews to scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. Member of editorial board, Political Psychology, 1986–89; member of board of editors of Psychoanalytic Study of Society, 1989–95; associate editor of Psychoanalysis and History, 1998–.

WORK IN PROGRESS: On the Psychology of Political Assassination: The Murder of an Israeli Prime Minister.

SIDELIGHTS: Best known for his psychoanalytical biographies of such notable Israeli figures as Moshe Dayan and David Ben-Gurion, Avner Falk has also written a psychoanalytical approach to Jewish history. In another book, Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, the author delves into the psychological origins of the conflict between the Israelis and the Arabs who inhabit the various countries that surround Israel. He pays special attention to how both sides' history and ethnicity have formed the basis for the divisive psychology of the two groups. He uses a technique called "psychogeography" to also look at the essential role that the relatively small amount of Middle East land has played in forming the antagonistic relationship between Israelis and Arabs. Finally, he explores the psychology of former charismatic leaders, such as Israel's Ariel Sharon and Palestine's Yassir Arafat.

Noting that Falk writes about many of the "unconscious factors and mechanisms" that contribute to difficult and violent relationship, Library Journal contributor E. James Lieberman wrote of Fratricide in the Holy Land: "The result is a rich combination of history, culture, religion, and psychology." Cynthia Hoffman, writing in Tikkun, commented that the author's "most interesting work … [is when] he applies Freud's notion of repetition compulsion to both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs as a partial explanation for the series of conflicts over the years, many of which seem to be identical to each other." A Reviewer's Bookwatch contributor considered the author's discussion of the psychology of suicide bombers to be "especially timely and informative."

Falk told CA: "I can't help writing, it's in my blood. So is psychoanalysis and those who have influenced my work include Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Heinz Kohut, Margaret Mahler, Vamik Volkan, and several others. I write scholarly books and articles, which require much checking of documents, references, and sources.

"I began writing about Buber and Gandhi at age twenty and have written much work in psychobiography, psychohistory, psychogeography, and political psychology. I am fascinated by the unconscious motives in every field of human endeavor. I have been writing bigger works, for example, a 2,000 page psychobiography of Napoleon."



Library Journal, January 1, 2005, E. James Lieberman, review of Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, p. 131.

Reviewer's Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of Fratricide in the Holy Land.

Tikkun, July-August 2005, Cynthia Hoffman, review of Fratricide in the Holy Land, p. 67.


Avner Falk Home Page, http://www.zyworld.com/groucho/Home.htm (May 21, 2006).