Divided Jerusalem - Wasserstein, Bernard - Yale University Press
Political Science

A Yale Nota Bene Publication

Divided Jerusalem

The Struggle for the Holy City

  • Bernard Wasserstein
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Out of Print.

Finalist for the 2001-02 National Jewish Book Award

Named one of the finest books of 2001 by The Economist

Named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post Book World

In this timely book, Bernard Wasserstein offers the first authoritative history of the fraught diplomatic relations surrounding the Holy City of Jerusalem. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have all claimed the city as their own over the centuries—as have a dizzying array of foreign nations. In the period between the founding of the city and its capture by Israelis in 1967, Jerusalem has been conquered at least thirty-seven times. “No other town,” wrote Arthur Koestler in 1948, “has caused such continuous waves of killing, rape, and unholy misery over the centuries as the Holy City.”

Today, Jerusalem lies at the core of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is the most deeply divided capital city in the world: its Arab and Jewish residents inhabit different districts, speak different languages, attend different schools, read different newspapers, observe different holy days—live, in almost every significant respect, different lives. Against the background of renewed violence in and around Jerusalem, this book explores the complicated origins of the current diplomatic impasse. Why is the question of Jerusalem so intractable? Why has it outlasted almost every other political dispute as a focus for diplomatic wrangling and collective violence? And what are the prospects for resolution?

Meticulously researched, and written with humanity and elegance, this book offers an illuminating contribution to the effort to achieve a lasting negotiated settlement of a tragic conflict that affects us all.

Bernard Wasserstein is professor of history at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of many books, including The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln (published by Yale University Press) and Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews in Europe since 1945.