The third volume [1] promises to examine a subject that has gained increasing attention both in Israel and abroad, namely the vexing issue of Israeli collective identity. The problem became particularly acute in the 1990s and even dominated the country's public life.

But readers looking for an understanding of the many issues at stake in this debate will be disappointed by the present book, as its chapters do not directly address the issue of Israeli collective identity. Taken individually, some of the chapters are interesting, particularly the chapter which traces the varied meanings ascribed by the political right to the concept of Eretz Yisrael from the time of the revisionist leader Jabotinsky until the present day. The author clearly shows that this concept, which has been so central to the political discourse of the right, is far from unambiguous, with different leaders of the right understanding it in different ways. This is certainly an important and highly relevant argument but, as with the other chapters in the volume, its connection to problems of Israeli collective identity is at best unclear.

Instead, the book amounts to an assembly of disparate articles of varying quality, covering everything from an analysis of Zionism in the Israeli theater to an examination of a banking scandal which took place in Israel in the early 1980s. The chapters are divided into three sections (collective identity, politics, and society), which is a problematic structure for a book ostensibly concerned with Israeli collective identity, a subject that cannot be divorced from politics and society.

[1] Articles first appeared in Israel Affairs, Autumn/Winter 2002.