Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

Sara Netanyahu's Takeout Dinners May Not Be a Game-Changer

It takes more than corruption to change voters' minds. But you knew that. 

Heidi Levine/Pool photo via AP Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah as they enter the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court H ow in the world do you order $100,000 worth of takeout in Jerusalem? Such was my reflexive reaction when Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israel's prime minister, was indicted last week for fraudulently charging meals worth that much to the government. I mean, you have to work at overspending on dining in this town. At one of the classier restaurants from which she ordered, the most expensive main course on the menu, an entrecote steak, costs under $45. But the question was silly. If anyone could be so extravagant on someone else's tab, it's the Netanyahus. Reports of their determined disregard for paying the bills, their sense of royal entitlement even when Benjamin Netanyahu was out of office, go back to the beginning of his national career. The indictment does raise a couple of legal questions, like how it took this long for one Netanyahu or the other to...

The Trump-Kim Show Should Teach Israel How Little Trump's Support Is Worth

Netanyahu’s relentless effort to cultivate Trump’s favor is a losing game. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu at the White House L ikud cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi was quick on the send button. “Today was a historic day in #Singapore,” he tweeted elatedly as the Trump-Kim Jong Un summit wrapped up. “It was the latest signal that the @RealDonaldTrump Administration will not tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of radical and dangerous regimes. Hopefully the mullahs in #Iran will get the message loud and clear.” This isn't an official statement of the government of Israel. But it fits very closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reflex of extravagant praise for the man now occupying the Oval Office. The kindest reading: Hanegbi was tweeting out of cynical understanding of what it takes to stay on Trump's good side. The alternative—that he believed he what he said—would mean that he, his boss, and his party totally misread the...

The Border Is Always Ready to Blow Up

A brief guide to the last clash, and the next, on the Israel-Gaza line

AP Photo/Khalil Hamra Palestinian protesters hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel T he sirens screamed at 7 a.m. one morning last week in Israeli communities near the Gaza border. A few seconds later mortar shells started falling. One landed in a kindergarten playground, empty because of the early hour. All around Israel, through the day and into the night, cell phones flashed news of red alerts in the region around Gaza as shells and rockets came in. And into the night, Israeli Air Force jets bombed Hamas and Islamic Jihad arms stores in the coastal strip. Unusually, there were no reports of people killed. But bulletins pointed out, in case you weren't already thinking it, that this was the fiercest exchange of fire between Gaza and Israel since 2014. You knew the script, from 2014 and before that 2008: mortar shells or rockets, followed by air strikes, followed by mortars, and so on. Followed by war. The next morning, Wednesday, at 5...

Trump Kept His Promises to Netanyahu, and Showed They Were Worse than Worthless

Like his Republican friends, Netanyahu is stained by his embrace of Trump.

Debbie Hill, Pool via AP Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump in Jerusalem T he lasting images for Israelis, the footage likely to feature in 100 future documentaries, appeared on the split screen of television news: On one side, Palestinian demonstrators at the Gaza border, enveloped in smoke or tear gas, hurling stones or carrying their wounded; on the other, dignitaries arriving at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to watch Ivanka Trump, dressed in white, reveal the new sign rebranding the building—with the words “Donald J. Trump” chiseled into stone in larger letters than “Embassy, United States of America.” Joined on the split screen, the pictures are icons for the hollowness of Benjamin Netanyahu's diplomatic offensive and of his reliance—like that of so many Republicans—on the promises of America's confidence-man-in-chief. These days the emailed press announcements from Netanyahu's office portray Israel's prime minister as always...

It Doesn’t Add Up

Israeli arguments about the precise number of Palestinians are a distraction. Occupation is undemocratic no matter how many or few there are.

Wissam Nassar/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
(Wissam Nassar/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) Palestinians attend Friday prayers during a tent city protest along the Israel border with Gaza on the 42nd anniversary of the Palestinian Land Day on March 30, 2018. H ow many Jews live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean? How many Palestinians live in that same small strip of land? The question erupts irregularly, repeatedly, and inevitably in Israeli politics, like symptoms of a serious, misdiagnosed disease. The latest outbreak came when a meeting of a Knesset committee veered off-topic. The session was devoted to a labor dispute in Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, which is responsible for all sorts of government services, both to Palestinians living under occupation and to Israeli settlers. The small size of the overworked, underpaid Civil Administration staff led a committee member to ask how many Palestinians live in the West Bank. “We estimate 2.5 to 2.7 million,” responded Colonel Uri Mendes, No. 2 in...

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