Unpacking Israeli History

Unpacking Israeli History

It’s official: another season is coming

Go behind the scenes of Israeli history with self-confessed history nerd Noam Weissman. Each week, he offers a fresh perspective on some of the most controversial and interesting events in the country’s history. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about what Israel is all about –from multiple angles and viewpoints — this is the podcast for you.

5 mins

The news coming out of Israel is scaring and confusing all of us. Is Sheikh Jarrah a housing dispute, or something bigger? Who is responsible for the protests and riots all over the country? Why are thousands of rockets being launched, and what does it mean for the region? What is going on??

Here at Unpacking Israeli History, we’re here to make sense of the present by exploring the past. Our goal is always to explore the questions of Israeli history — to really get to know the stories, including the confusing grey areas, and to make meaning of the present. To be transparent, and give the real context to the complicated, messy world of Israel, which has a few warts perhaps, but is also full of wonders. Only with that nuanced approach will we really understand Israeli history, and only when we understand that history will we be able to understand the very textured Israeli present.

28 mins

In the final episode of the season, Noam Weissman delves into one of the most divisive events in Israel’s history — the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. He looks at the historical context, the political and religious debate leading up to the pull-out, the trauma it caused for Israelis, the effect that the disengagement had on the peace process and whether the results were worth the suffering it caused.

25 mins

To appreciate the current Israeli and Palestinian psyches, it’s vital to understand the first five years of the 21st century — the period of the Second Intifada. Noam Weissman gets to the heart of the issue and asks why this serious attempt at peace between Israel and the Palestinians ended in one of the bloodiest periods in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and how the effects of those defining years are still felt to this day.

25 mins

The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin on November 4th, 1995 remains one of the most difficult moments in Israeli history and in modern Jewish history. Join Noam Weissman as he dives into Rabin’s life and legacy and unpacks how the assassination and its aftermath continues to affect Israeli society.

27 mins

On the festival of Purim in 1994, Israeli-American doctor Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, killing 29 Muslim worshippers. Condemnation was swift and decisive, but among the voices of dismay and repulsion were those who supported Goldstein’s actions and honored him after his death. Noam Weissman explores the background of the massacre, the events that followed and asks important questions about Jewish terrorism.

60 mins

The First Intifada, or uprising, differed greatly from the intense violence and bloodshed seen in the Second Intifada. Even without the same level of violence, the events from 1987-1993 completely altered Israeli history. Noam Weissman asks what caused the Intifada, how it shifted the Arab-Israeli relationship and why it changed Israel’s reputation on the global stage forever.

25 mins

After the victory of the Six-Day War in 1967, it seemed like Israel was invincible. Less than a decade later, the country was taken by surprise by the outbreak of war on Yom Kippur 1973. Noam Weissman explores why — despite warnings — Israel’s leadership seemed so unprepared, why America urged Israel not to attack first and why this national catastrophe ultimately led to a strengthening of relationships with both the U.S. and Egypt.

23 mins

The 1972 Munich Olympics was supposed to showcase the face of the new Germany. Instead, the horrific death of 11 Israeli athletes — slaughtered as the world watched  — marked a watershed moment in the Palestinian struggle and raises important questions about the power and effectiveness of terrorism. Join Noam Weissman as he explains the details of that day and what followed, and why the massacre at Munich was not just another 1970’s terrorist attack.

19 mins

You would have thought that bringing Nazis to justice would have been something the world could agree on, but the Mossad’s capture of the infamous Nazi Adolf Eichmann prompted a fiery international debate that proved otherwise. Noam Weissman explores the truth about the stranger-than-fiction capture of one of the architects of the Final Solution and debates the ethical and moral questions raised by Eichmann’s trial and subsequent execution by the State of Israel.

21 mins

Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, predates the establishment of the Jewish state by decades. Zionist leader Theodor Herzl hated it and many of Israel’s citizens refuse to sing it. So, how did this unlikely song take the national anthem top spot? What were the alternatives? And are there any plans to change it? Join Noam Weissman as he deconstructs the music, melody and meaning behind Hatikvah.

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Season 1
Andrea & Larry Gill

Individual Episodes
Deir Yassin – Maytal and David Shainberg
Rabin Assasination – Dr. Neil and Pam Weissman
Hebrew Language – Jack and Ellen Kahan Zager in honor of Ala and Yoske (z”l) Brosh