Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

The Most Misunderstood Country on Earth

Israel - A simple guide to most misunderstood country on earth

A recommendation and some thoughts on Noa Tishby’s outstanding Book.

Dear Noa,

I recently finished reading your book, Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth.

It seems the absurdity and obsession with Israel gets worse every week.

In today’s world, Jews and Israelis are troubled by the rising tide of anti-Zionism and pro-Hamas sentiment. Whether this Hate is due to ignorance, naivety, or outright hate is unclear, but we all grapple with it. Why is the Palestinian cause singled out – used as a pawn in Israel and Jew hate? Why is Israel labelled as committing genocide when 17,000 people (newly revised number), including militants, have died in Gaza in legitimate defence war under unparralled use of tunnels and civilian shields, compared to much larger casualties in other conflicts? There’s no similar outcry. There are so many accusations. It is endless.

Your book provides comfort and reassurance to these questions based on history, facts and personal stories.

I stumbled upon it in the Pomeranz Bookstore in Jerusalem the day before Yom Hazikaron. I read it on Yom Hazikaron on Har Herzl, in downtown Jerusalem, on Yom Ha’atzmaut. I could think of nothing more relevant.

Initially, I wondered what new insights it could offer someone familiar with Israel’s complexities. However, your book, clearly aimed at a wider audience, was a refreshing, enlightening, and honest read. The personal touch of your family stories made it particularly engaging. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to understand this complex situation better.

I was especially moved by your personal Eureka moment with your father during a Pre-Rosh Hashanah phone call, which served as your wake-up call to discover your Jewish heritage and Israel outreach.

October 8th, as you eloquently mentioned in this video, has become a Eureka moment for Israel and Jews worldwide. October 8th was Israel and the world’s Jewry wake-up call. If the shock and trauma of October 7th were not enough, the disbelief of October 8th took this to a new level.

Post 7th October, we have discovered new faces and voices like yours, Douglas Murray’s, and Eylon Levy’s, along with many unnamed young students on American campuses finding their voice and their Judaism. Life has changed for Jews globally, and your book makes a compelling, sensitive case without negating the Palestinians. You ask pertinent questions, prompting deep reflection.

Our backgrounds are different, yet we find a common cause. I was born in Africa (South Africa) and moved to Israel. Your story is born in Israel, your family has a connection to Africa (and as you write in the book – more about that later) and living in the U.S. Although I grew up secular, we were traditional, and today, I have embraced a national religious outlook. Despite our different paths, we, as most Jews, especially today, share a common destiny for Israel. A hope for a better tomorrow.

I want to add some of my thoughts on your book’s key themes.

Your Grandmother’s Story of Idealism

Your Stories of Grandmother Fania moving from Russia to Israel all alone and becoming a founding member of Kibbutz Dagania are very moving. She was a real pioneer and settler. In your book, you define “Hilltop Youth” as a hardline extremist religious national group of primarily young men that often sets up illegal posts in the West Bank. While that may or may not be correct, I identify with the Hilltop Youth differently.

I live in Jerusalem, on a hill overlooking the city, and while many around the world regard this hill as illegitimate, I am not an extremist. Like your grandmother at Degania, many outposts were initially deemed contra-versional yet persevered and became integral parts of Israel. I urge you to visit Gadara, where a little settlement from the 1880s became a thriving community. The main street is an open museum, preserved in time, that is a living testimony to the spirit and bravery of these earliest pioneers. This spirit of perseverance is how we built the country then and how we should continue building it now.

I am sharing a video of my daughter’s settlement, Keren Reim. This is only one of the new settlements that were approved in the last xx years. Today, it is a thriving community of ordinary people, not radicals, people contributing to this country. These villages are not obstacles to peace but could be hopes of co-existence and a source of livelihood for the neighbouring Palestinian villages.

The Settlements

The world often views us as occupiers with no rights to Judea and Samaria referred to as the West Bank. Life is not perfect, and the PA leadership perpetuates a cycle of terror, contributing to their people’s hardship. As you eloquently mentioned, the Palestinians need responsible leadership. Judea and Samaria are the heartland and historical home of the Jewish people.

As Benjamin Netanyahu said,

“In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India, nor the Persians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel.”

In addition, I would add there are strong legal and historical claims to this biblical heartland of Israel. Again, these legal claims have been negated by distortions of law, countries, the UN and now Social media and academia.


The photo here shows Hebron in the 1880s. I love sharing and re-sharing these photos, which are sourced from social media.

These photos show how empty the land was. Ironically, all these places, connections, and rights to these places are entrenched in the Bible. And are the most contested.


Here is Bethlehem in the 19th century. Again a desolate place.






There is much to say here. The world is only aware of part of the story. There is no or little awareness of the expulsion and displacement of Jews 850,000 in 1948 from Arab countries, which constitutes a significant, though often underrepresented, historical injustice. While Israel and other host countries have absorbed these refugees and enabled them to rebuild their lives, the lack of compensation and formal acknowledgement by the Arab states where they once lived remains a poignant issue. Addressing this historical wrong is seen by many as a necessary step towards achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.

This is a statue of a  Jewish Family escaping from Yemen to Israel on foot. This is from the Haas Promenade overlooking the Hill (The Old City) in Jerusalem, where I am privileged to walk Daisy (who is in the photo). This park is shared with Arab Neighbours and families.



I live in Jerusalem, and we do experience co-existence. Arabs and Jews share parks and shops, living their lives in peace. This should be an opportunity for co-existence, not separation. However, the PLO and PA have refused to acknowledge our right to exist, which remains a significant barrier to true peace.

Justice and Democracy

Israel is the last bastion of democracy and justice in this region. After October 8th, it became clear how vital these principles are. During my research, I encountered questions about Israel’s right to exist. I’ve previously written on this topic, and I am sharing the link to that blog here

This research led me to question the legitimacy of many countries’ actions. Numerous nations have questionable human rights records and leadership that often does not act in the best interest of their people. This raises significant concerns about the role of the United Nations and its impact in a world plagued by evil and corrupt leaders.

I’ve been contemplating why Israel is so frequently misunderstood and why there is support for the forces of evil in this conflict. Historically, Jews, the Bible, and Israel have been a beacon of justice, striving for a better world.

This week’s Bible reading, known as Behar, which means “mountain,” includes the famous Declaration of Independence: “In the 50th year, you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land and all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee unto you, and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.” These words, inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, call for a better world.

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks poignantly wrote: “In an age of vast inequalities of income within and between societies, in which a billion people lack adequate food and shelter, clean water, and medical facilities, and 30,000 children die each day from preventable diseases, the vision of Behar challenges us with its ideals. I believe wealth and power are not privileges but responsibilities, and we are summoned to become God’s partners in building a world less ruined by chaos and more equitable and humane.

We are all summoned to become God’s partners in building a world less random and capricious and more equitable and humane. I believe the fight here is not about Palestinians versus Jews or Israel; it’s about good versus evil and what kind of world God would want to see here. Some have chosen paths that do not seek peace and prosperity, which is sad.”

Tikkun Olam

We have an obligation to pursue Tikkun Olam and repair the world. Those who fight against Israel often don’t understand what Israel represents. It stands for coexistence, peace, and the possibility to fix this broken world. It stands for eternal justice and social causes. Your book highlights that the UN focuses on three major issues: climate change, the UN SDGs, and Israel.

Last year, I took up the mantle of understanding global climate change and the United Nations SDGs, represented in the form of ESG. I wrote a book on Upgrading ESG, discussing how businesses and the world can thrive in the age of ESG.

Today, as people question Israel’s right to exist, it is clear that many illegitimate countries are not doing good for their people, which is sad.

The role of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world and Israel becoming an Impact Nation has been put on hold.

Israel and Africa

Your book also touches on your grandfather’s inspirational role in Israel supporting African countries. It was really interesting to read about those efforts and how much of his good work dissipated after 1973 with the rise of the Arab delegitimization of Israel.  As you mention in the book, I believe Israel and the Jewish diaspora have a special role to play in improving the lot of the people in Africa; I continue to write that the world still has unpaid debt to Africa, and the world needs to acknowledge their colonialism and slavery in Africa.

I urge you to connect with Dr. Nimrod Israeli, ,  a kindred spirit who shares your grandfather’s enthusiasm. He is an agro-expert working tirelessly to make a change in Africa. Sadly, efforts like this often fail due to a lack of support and investment. Supporting initiatives like this can change lives and make African communities self-sustainable, which is crucial. And help Israel play a role in making the world a better place.

In Conclusion

This calling for peace cries out even more today.

Your book asks us to reflect deeply as we continue our fight for Israel and a better world. Do we genuinely want to see a better world? Supporting Hamas and being pro-Palestine at the expense of Israel means siding with forces that perpetuate evil and injustice. Israel stands for justice and a brighter future. By not supporting due process and enabling forces of darkness, we move further from the equitable and humane world we strive to build.

Let’s commit to understanding the complexities of these issues and work towards a future where Israel’s fight for justice and democratic principles guide our actions, leading to a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.



Jeffrey Levine

Jerusalem, Israel

I captured the photos. All media is sourced from social media. The cover photo of your book shows Jerusalem’s sunrise from the balcony.

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and seven grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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