The University of Wisconsin Press

Psychology / Middle East / Judaica / HIstory

Fratricide in the Holy Land
A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Avner Falk

Terrace Books

The unconscious aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict

This is the first English-language book to apply psychoanalysis to the most intractable international struggle in the world today—the Arab-Israeli conflict. Two ethnic groups fight over a single territory that both consider to be theirs by historical right. Avner Falk makes a close historical examination to show that the two parties to this tragic conflict have missed innumerable opportunities for a rational partition of the territory between them and for a permanent state of peace and prosperity rather than perennial bloodshed and misery.

Falk suggests that a way to understand and explain such irrational behavior is to explore the unconscious aspects of the conflict such as denial, splitting, externalization, projection, and the grandiose group self. He examines large-group psychology, nationalism, psychogeography, the Arab and Israeli minds, and suicidal terrorism, and he offers psychobiographical studies of Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat, the two key players in this tragic conflict today.

"Falk's command of many literatures and disciplines is at once awesome and necessary for the task of psychoanalytic interpretation he assigns himself. Falk's use of psychoanalytic theory is consistently rigorous, measured, and supported by evidence. . . . [He] backs his psychoanalytic interpretations with copious data from many disciplines and sources. His writing is clear, at times beautiful."—Howard F. Stein, Ph.D., professor of family and preventive medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

"I believe it is important that attempts be made to apply psychoanalytic ideas to public events. Dr. Falk is to be commended for the courage to do so. The book's extensive bibliography lists just about everything written . . . that touches on the subject."—David A. Rothstein, M.D., psychiatrist

Avner Falk, Ph.D., is one of the foremost Israeli political psychologists and the best-known Israeli psychohistorian. He has been a clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Medicine and a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. He is the author of psychoanalytic biographies of Moshe Dayan, David Ben-Gurion, and Theodor Herzl and of A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)


cover of the Falk features a reproduction of the Goya painting of two men, or brothers, attacking each other with cudgels

November 2005
LC: 2004005378 DS
300 pp
.   6 x 9
5 b/w illus.

Book icon
Cloth $35.00 t
ISBN 978-0-299-20250-7
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout


Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated March 8, 2012

© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System