• Israel

  • A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth
  • By: Noa Tishby
  • Narrated by: Noa Tishby
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (579 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

AUDIO EXCLUSIVE: INCLUDES THE SONG “ELATION STATION” BY INFECTED MUSHROOM!

A “fascinating and very moving” (Aaron Sorkin, award-winning screenwriter of The West Wing and The Social Network) chronological timeline spanning from Biblical times to today that explores one of the most interesting countries in the world—Israel.

Israel. The small strip of arid land is 5,700 miles away but remains a hot-button issue and a thorny topic of debate. But while everyone seems to have a strong opinion about Israel, how many people actually know the facts?

Here to fill in the information gap is Israeli American Noa Tishby. But “this is not your Bubbie’s history book” (Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher). Instead, offering a fresh, 360-degree view, Tishby brings her “passion, humor, and deep intimacy” (Yossi Klein Halevi, New York Times bestselling author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor) to the subject, creating an accessible and dynamic portrait of a tiny country of outsized relevance. Through bite-sized chunks of history and deeply personal stories, Tishby chronicles her homeland’s evolution, beginning in Biblical times and moving forward to cover everything from WWI to Israel’s creation to the disputes dividing the country today. Tackling popular misconceptions with an abundance of facts, Tishby provides critical context around headline-generating controversies and offers a clear, intimate account of the richly cultured country of Israel.

©2021 Noa Tishby. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Israel

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my first review

I came to this book with limited knowledge of the history, hoping to hear unbiased historical information, as the book is presented as 'the facts'. Unfortunately, the sarcasm and gaslighting of Arab people throughout makes for a difficult listen. I believe this is unintentional on the author's part. There are plenty of valid points to be made from her side, but the delivery is tone-deaf. 

Presented in part as personal history, Tishby often comes across as defensive, frustrated and impatient with contrasting opinions. Her suggested passage out of the ongoing conflict is for everyone to understand where blame should rightly be placed, which is rarely on the Israeli side, obviously. She doesn't for a second suggest that any of the 'facts' she presents might be blurry or arguable due to the complexity of human interactions and the fog of war. The result is that almost nobody with an alternative point of view will be swayed by this book. If anything, it will probably have the opposite effect, unfortunately. 

The book plays well to its existing audience who will no doubt nod along in agreement, but its confrontational tone doesn't do the hard work of welcoming outsiders with different or incomplete points of view. At times it seems to be an emotional exercise in black and white thinking. It may help if Tishby occasionally acknowledged her own bias, that it's impossible for her to speak from or understand the Arab position with the same nuance she presents the Israeli side. Despite all this, it was worth the listen in order to understand many of the main arguments from the Zionist perspective.

This book led me to consider the potentially destructive power of connecting too closely with personal and national 'identity', and how opinions can be strongly shaped from an early age via traumatic personal experience and intergenerational belief bubbles. This plays out on both sides of the conflict. That probably wasn't the author's intention, but it will certainly help inform future conversations I have on this tricky topic. Get through it, if you can.

27 people found this helpful

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I hope this book will help

Israeli-American actor and producer Noa Tishby has written with ISRAEL what could be an important pro-Israel and pro-Zionist book if anti-Zionists would read it with an open mind. But they likely will not. Nevertheless, I appreciate her openness and honesty as well as her clear writing style and her superb narration skills although I fear it is all for naught. It is not non-Jewish Zionists like me she needs to convince.

ISRAEL includes lots of history in a book that is also intensely familial and personal. I hope it will get the wide readership it deserves.

14 people found this helpful

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So Helpful.. Dang Timely

I’ve always had a cursory idea of Israeli history, but with what has happened this last week and the appearance on Shapiro, I wanted to understand the history more deeply and feel much more educated on the topic. Although the book unpacks a LOT of history, the main points, important points, to help me understand the conflict are covered several times and that’s so helpful.. Lots going on there. I’m sure I’ll listen to it once more so solidify some truths. Really really helpful book!

9 people found this helpful

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No Nonsense primer on a misunderstood country

Terrific background and personal stories, always rooted and backed up with data and examples. Enthusiastic and honest performance. Debunks so many misconceptions and popular myths. A must read. Excellent and telling.

7 people found this helpful

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Thank You Noa

As a forty year California lawyer, you would think that the words and tools to speak up for Israel would come easy to me Unfortunately, I get so angry with the bias against and misinformation about Israel that i find it hard to stay calm and make a case as I have been trained to do. Now thanks to Noa I have the facts and a measured voice. I have already bought several hardback copies to share with others. Keep going!

6 people found this helpful

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Must Read

Israel has always been a controversial subject. This book very fairly makes the case for why the only democracy in the Middle East faces the challenges it does. This is a book for all to read. Especially those who have misgivings about the country. Kudos to Noa for her insights and depth.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing book!!!!!

An incredible and objective view of Israel and Middle East history full of facts, written/read in a way that will make you smile, laugh and shed some tears for sure.
Highly recommended!

6 people found this helpful

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One of the most important books of our time

This is simply a book that every teacher, every student, every person - who prefers to be educated versus uneducated on one of the most serious and controversial topics of all times - Israel and the Middle East. Listening to Noa read her story is the icing on the cake and the very last handfuls of words spoken are the cherry on top. Read this book. The world needs you to. 🙏🏽

4 people found this helpful

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An Extraordinarily Important Read

This is the most fair and balanced account of Israel I’ve ever encountered. And it sets the record straight on issues of BDS, antisemitism, Zionism and anti-Zionism, and other issues that are far too often misunderstood. The clarity Noa Tishby provides is something the world needs badly. May it be widely read, and may its insights pave the way to healing, positivity, understanding, peace and progress.

4 people found this helpful

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A good book but for who

This book was very well written. It touched on topics that go back thousands of years to just a few months ago. The book mainly details on facts about Israel as well as the personal history and achievements of her family. I myself am a very strong pro Israel pro Zionist person. So I agreed with mostly everything she said. You do have to realize that this is coming from her own opinion and views and it is very one-sided pro Israel.As I agree with many of the things she said I truly enjoyed the book but was the book written for people like me or was the book written for people who really don’t know anything about Israel and would like to educate themselves. And if so how would you get them to read the book also they may find the book very one-sided and not find it truly objective.She took great detail to get all the facts straight she was very factual and very correct in her statements.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Hope
  • 05-03-21

An absolute must read.

Fantastic book. A great explanation of Israel and perfect whether you love, hate or are indifferent about her. A clear and sensible explanation and an unpicking of the confusions and misunderstandings that surround this tiny yet mammoth country.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Flavia Vial Martins
  • 06-02-21

Best audiobook I’ve listened to in a long time

Excellent book and a must-read, especially now when conflicts have spiked recently. Don’t let yourself be misguided by the media and by public opinion. Through this very necessary book, along with some serious research if you wish, you’ll be able to get the facts straight and understand what’s behind this long history of conflicts. I can’t thank Noa enough for this masterpiece. And her performance is flawless! Best listen of the year so far.

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  • Jamtart
  • 08-29-21

A wonderful and important work

Noa Tishby deserves great credit for writing this fascinating and detailed account of Israel, from before its creation to the present day. She makes no apology for being a passionate Israeli herself, yet clearly understands the many difficulties facing Arabs and Jews as they try to share the Middle East.

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  • Greg
  • 07-21-21

Required listening

Picks up on the only part of the puzzle that David Baddiel’s excellent book chose to leave out. Without both you cannot understand.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-23-22

Fantastic listen

Noa Tishby has done a wonderful job of explaining the current issues surrounding attitudes to Israel as well running through the history in an accessible way. She also narrates it brilliantly - as you would expect from an actress and producer. I got through the whole thing in two days. Brilliant.

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  • Trisha
  • 06-03-22

Very informative and well written.

There is so much in this book that it will need a second read to bring everything together. Well narrated and a lively account. Helpful for my studies.

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  • Andy
  • 05-30-22

Excellent listen.

This book is quite enlightening. It’s helped me understand a little more the conflict in Israel. Great

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  • DAK
  • 05-16-22

A masterpiece!

A well written book beautifully read.
Factual and also entertaining. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was hooked from the beginning. The author who is also the narrator is wonderful. I highly recommend this title.

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  • STEVE SLAVIN
  • 03-16-22

Excellent work

Wonderful book. Well-researched and unbiased. A must-read for people seeking the truth about Israel.

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  • R. Howard
  • 08-29-21

Important Primer.

Great book that attempts to clear away the fog of misrepresentation and lies whenever the topic of Israel is brought up. I hope it gets into the hands of the haters and deluded to see a different point of view for once. The good news is this is serious book delivered with a light touch. Thank you Noa Tishbi. You nailed it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-22

Bais and fabrication of facts.

Bais and fabrication of facts. tho Noa mention in the beginning that it is not a history book and it obviously isn't an academic one.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-23-22

Amazing!

As someone who has attended dozens of anti-israeli protests (Athens, London, Sydney) chanted "from the river to the sea.." and have supported the BDS I am so grateful to this book and so regretful for not doing my homework before taking a stand in the past. The anti-Israeli propaganda is convincing and manipulates well intended people, especially the young idealists,that want to stand for what is presented like a massive injustice and Israel like a fascist state.

This is an excellent book in learning some very important facts and Noa a hugely important voice for the Israelis and also all Jewish communities around the world.

My mother is a 3rd generation Egyptian jew who in the 50s was forced to fill a suitcase, leave the country and never return. Thank you for mentioning the nearly 900.000 jews that were expelled from the arab countries in the 50s.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-22

The facts we never hear

Beautifully written & narrated. Lots of information we rarely hear and from a descendent of a family firmly involved in the pre and early days of the state of Israel.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-21

Understanding and Respect for all people

loved it?
I recommend this book to all my friends and family.
I remain a friend always.

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  • Nir
  • 06-08-21

Brilliant, balanced, eye opening, super interesting

I read this book twice. It is a must for all Israel supporters. A brilliant example of how to explain Israel. It is also a must for all Israel demonisers. It is a superb test to their moral compass.