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"Israel and Palestine" is a book by the famous Jewish theologian Martin Buber, written in 1944, in which he discusses the unique spiritual development of the Jewish people and their relationship to the land of Palestine.

While the words "Israel and Palestine" today bring up controversy (to say the very least), and in part I read this book because I wanted to understand the historical underpinnings of the conflict, the book is very short on anything that smacks of imperialism or the like. Anyone on any side who wishes to find pat arguments for the place of Israel in geopolitics will be quite disappointed.

Which may be, sadly, just because the book is fairly densely written. Along with the references to several different forms of Jewish thought, the book also seems to have an occasional comment on Existentialist and Marxist thinking, with maybe a little bit of Hegel thrown in, making it a kind of sample platter of early 20th century thought.

If any summary could be given of the book, it is that there is a unique spiritual relationship between the Jewish people and the physical landscape of Palestine, and that this relationship is the only avenue with which Jews can continue the historical development of divinity inside of history. The one thing that struck me as most odd about the book was the constant reference to "people", as opposed to the individual person, and the idea of identity flowing out of ethnic identity and physical connection to the earth, rather than out of individual subjective consciousness. This is a rather romantic idea in the academic sense, and not one without its dangers.

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