Bernard Avishai is an Adjunct Professor of Business at Hebrew
University of Jerusalem. He lives in
Jerusalem and the United States.
He has taught at Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), and Dartmouth College, and was director of the Zell
Entrepreneurship Program at the
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in
Israel. From 1998 to 2001 he was International Director of
Intellectual Capital at
KPMG LLP. Before this he headed product
development at Monitor Group, with which he is still associated. From
1986 to 1991 he was technology editor of Harvard Business Review. A
Guggenheim Fellow, Avishai holds a doctorate in political economy from
the University of Toronto. Before turning to management, he covered
Middle East as a journalist. He has written many articles and
commentaries for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Harvard
Harper's Magazine and other publications. He is the
author of three books on Israel, including the widely read The Tragedy
of Zionism, and the 2008 The Hebrew Republic.
1 Academic career
2 Business career
3 The Hebrew Republic
4 Personal life
6 External links
Bernard Avishai was born in Montreal,
Quebec in 1949. The son of the
late Ben Shaicovitch, president of Canada's Zionist Men's Association
during the 1950s, he volunteered for farm work on an Israeli
collective during the Six-Day War, an experience that affected many of
his generation. He and his first wife, the artist Susan Avishai, moved
Israel in 1972 while he was still working on a doctorate in
political economy for the University of Toronto, and began writing
about Israel, the history of Zionism, and the Arab–Israeli conflict.
After the October War of 1973, he published a series of searching
political essays in The New York Review of Books, to which he
contributed regularly until the mid-1980s. His reports anticipated the
1977 election that brought
Menachem Begin and the Israeli right to
power for a generation.
Avishai earned his doctorate in 1978, writing mainly on the work of
Marx under C. B. Macpherson. He moved to
Boston in 1980,
where he taught humanities at MIT, and joined Dissent magazine's
editorial board. His first book, The Tragedy of Zionism, was published
in 1985 to considerable controversy, since it suggested that Israel's
occupation was a symptom of a democracy plagued by anachronistic
Zionist institutions and ideas. The controversy led to his being
denied tenure at MIT, according to Avishai, and he left for Harvard
Business School in 1986. He there took up a position as an editor of
Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review (HBR). In 1987, he was awarded a Guggenheim
Fellowship for continuing work on the writer Arthur Koestler, which
led to eventual articles in The New Yorker, Partisan Review, and
Salmagundi. His second book, A New Israel, was published in 1990.
Avishai was Visiting Professor at the
Fuqua School of Business
Fuqua School of Business and
Senior Fellow at the
Sanford School of Public Policy
Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke
University, where he taught courses on the new economy and public
His years at HBR, where he became the magazine's technology and
strategy editor, changed the direction of his work considerably. He
brought to publication dozens of articles on computer-based
manufacturing, the implications of burgeoning information networks,
and globalization. While preparing to branch off into knowledge
management consulting, he began to consider the implications of high
technology for Israel's economy and society. In 1991, his last at HBR,
he published "Israel's Future: Brainpower, High tech—and Peace” in
the magazine, the first to predict Israel’s economic opportunity. He
then joined Monitor Group as its head of product development, and
became International Director of Intellectual Capital at
KPMG LLP in
1998. During these years in management consulting, he continued to
contribute articles, mainly on Israeli politics and economy, to The
New Yorker, The New York Times, The American Prospect, Fortune, and
He remains active as a consultant associated with Monitor Group, and
has taught entrepreneurial business planning in
Libya and other places
under its auspices.
The Hebrew Republic
In 2002, he married Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, a professor of literature at
the Hebrew University, and returned to
Israel and teaching,
becoming director of the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. In 2005, he wrote the widely
cited article "Saving
Israel from Itself" in Harper's Magazine, which
led to the book The Hebrew Republic. This book argues that Israel's
professional elites have made a success of globalization, and have
become a natural constituency for a successful peace process; but that
Israeli democracy's continuing neglect of its Arab minority, now 1/5
of the country, and the special privileges accorded to Israel's ultra
Orthodox, also 1/5 of the country, is sowing the seeds of a disaster
which only a settlement with the Palestinians can prevent. As he puts
it in his book, "
Israel cannot have an economy like Singapore's
through a nationalities war like Serbia's."
Avishai is married to Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi. He is the father of three
children. He divides his time between homes in
Jerusalem and Wilmot,
New Hampshire.
^ "Blogger: User Profile: Bernard Avishai".
^ Avishai, Bernard (April 2, 2012). "Real Life, not "Counterlife"".
The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
^ Avishai, Bernard. "Saving
Israel from itself: A secular future for
the Jewish state". Harper's Magazine.
Bernard Avishai Dot Com: Take A Buck".
^ Avishai, Bernard (April 2008). The Hebrew Republic: How Secular
Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring
Israel Peace At Last.
Harcourt. p. 9.
Getting to the promised land
Bernard Avishai Dot Com Responses, mainly to rash opinions about
Israel and its conflicts
Video (with mp3 available) discussion on the
Middle East with Avishai
Sam Bahour on Bloggingheads.tv
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