The Birth of Modern Israel


The goal of the authors of Can These Bones Live is to provide a factual understanding of the foundation of the modern State of Israel, particularly as it involved the political decisions of Great Britain. The authors do so with a comprehensive analysis of those decisions, and by gathering observations of the actors and first hand comments from primary sources. The sources are used as a setting for an effective play by play of events as experienced by one of the authors, which is the heart of the treatise.


Dr. Robert Bartfeld was a participant, whose activity as a member of the Palmach (a precursor to the Israel Defense Forces) affected and was affected by those political decisions. His service was broad, providing a unique perspective that is invaluable to anyone who wishes to fully understand the events. As a work of military history, informed by the politics of the time, therefore, this scholarly book stands out. Just as the setting of a gemstone enhances the beauty of a piece of jewelry, so the scholarship of the co-author, Dr. Roland Ehlke, forms a background that increases the utility, understandability, and value of Dr. Bartfeld’s notable account.


An additional goal of the authors is to provide an understanding of “what is happening there now.” The founding of the modern State of Israel was a momentous event, rare in history. The second goal therefore is equally important. Although the details of the struggle at Israel’s birth are necessary to achieve the second goal, a reader first must have some knowledge of the stage on which the event took place.


Bonus Read: Foundation of Zionism by Louis M. Morris

Can These Bones Live?

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  • Dr. Robert A. Bartfeld and Dr. Roland Cap Ehlke