Praise for Freud in Zion


Few episodes in the history of psychoanalysis are as densely packed with trans-cultural, ideological, institutional and ethical issues as the arrival of psychoanalysis in pre-state Israel in the early 20th century. Freud in Zion is the first work to explore this encounter between psychoanalytic expertise, Judaism, Modern Hebrew culture and the Zionist revolution. It offers a look at the relationship between psychoanalysis and a wider community, and follows the life and work of Jewish psychoanalysts during World War II. As such, it makes an important contribution to a central concern of psychoanalytic studies today, the interplay of psychoanalysis, culture, ideology and politics. What were the particular terms of endearment that enabled the coexistence of psychoanalysis as a psychological-critical theory and Zionism as an ideology and consciousness? Did historical reality play a role in shaping contemporary psychoanalytic practice and ethics in Israel? The coming of Freudian psychoanalysis to pre-state Israel, where it rapidly penetrated the discourse of pedagogy, literature, medicine, and politics, becoming a popular therapeutic discipline, is regarded in this study as an integral part of a Jewish immigrant society’s struggle to establish its identity in the face of its manifold European pasts and its conflict-ridden Middle Eastern present.

The book has recently appeared in German as:
Freud auf Hebraeisch: Geschichte der Psychoanalyse im juedischen Palaestina (Goettingen: Vandenhoek Ruprecht 2013)



‘An exemplary work of scholarship. I have rarely come a cross a book that deserve the unqualified praise that Freud in Zion deserves’.
- The Psychoanalytic Quarterly


‘This great work is a must read for anyone who enjoys the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in particular. This fantastic study looks deeply into the shared history of psychoanalysis and conflicts of Jewish identity and helps readers to understand more of its continued impact’.
- American Psychological Association Review of Books


‘Rolnik is a breath of fresh air in psychoanalytic historiography: he steers a middle course between the official story and revisionism to give us a story that is alive and pulsing with passion and that holds the reader’s interest from beginning to end’. 
- Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association


‘An intriguing story of ideological and sociological development, interspersed with historical details anchored in papers and documents that sound familiar, but are really new and uncharted’.
- Ha'aretz Review of Books


‘A remarkably thorough historical research into the early formative years of the establishment of the new psychoanalytic society in Jerusalem…presented as embedded in the wider historical social and cultural context of Europe, Zionism, Israel and Jewish migration from central Europe, as well as in the development and spreading of psychoanalysis’. 
- The International Journal of Psychoanalysis


‘Rolnik’s study is a brilliant example of (a) new line of thought precisely because in the story which he tells, it is impossible to differentiate between which aspects are from the history of Zionism, and which are from the history of Freud – in other words, where ‘ psychoanalysis’ starts and where the ‘ new Hebrew culture’ ends, and vice versa. An innovative and thoughtful book.”
- Psychodynamic Practice 


‘What Rolnik tries to do is rich and valid. If only we had more such scholarly attempts to study the evolution of psychoanalytic thinking in various societies. Buy it. Read it’.
- InternationalPsychoanalysisNet