For the first time since the signing of the Abraham Accords, an Israeli research book was published in Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s largest public research institute, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, has published Zionism in Arab Discourse by TAU’s Prof. Uriya Shavit and Dr. Ofir Winter from the Institute for National Security Studies, INSS. Translated into Arabic at the initiative of Dr. Rami Abd el-Hai Kabil, a lecturer of modern Hebrew literature in Sohag University, Egypt, this is the first Israeli research book to be published in the UAE.
Prof. Uriya Shavit is Head of the Religious Studies Program and The Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, both at The Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Ofir Winter is a researcher at the INSS.
Models for Inspiration
Initially published in Hebrew in 2013 by HaKibbutz HaMeuchad Publishing House and in English in 2016 by the Manchester University Press, the book has aroused considerable interest. Its main thesis is that, alongside animosity towards Zionism and Israel, quite a number of Arab thinkers since the end of the 19th century, including members of the Muslim Brothers, have regarded various aspects of the Zionist enterprise as models which the Arab world should also adopt.
Arab texts that are mentioned in the book value a range of Zionist qualities, such as Israeli democracy, the figures of Herzl and Ben Gurion, the status of women in Israeli society, the revival of the Hebrew language, relations between Israel and the Jewish diaspora, and the achievements of Israeli science and academia.
Prof. Shavit and Dr. Winter: “In the book’s final chapter we wrote that Israelis can and should note the strengths identified by Arab thinkers – for example, the widely accepted notion that Israel’s democracy and rule of law can serve as a commendable model. We are very glad and proud that readers of Arabic will now be exposed to our book. In one sense, the very fact that it has been translated, under the auspices of the Abraham Accords, confirms our thesis – that the Arab world’s stance toward Israel is more multidimensional than what is commonly assumed.”
The book’s cover. Its webpage on the website of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research can be viewed here