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The original notion was that Israel, surrounded by hostile states led by Gamal Abdel-Nasser's Egypt, should seek alliances with non-Arab or non-Muslim countries or minorities in the Middle East, or with Arab states geographically distant from the Arab-Israeli conflict.More fundamentally, Alpher questions whether the search for allies among non-Arab or non-Muslim groups has fed a sense in the Arab core that Israel's fundamental aim is to divide and rule. He raises the still more important – and perhaps related – issue as to whether such alliances have made peace with the Palestinians and core Arab states more or less likely.Alpher concludes his stimulating book by asking whether Israel can find a "regional identity". He inclines toward the negative, and looks back almost with nostalgia to the "considerable ingenuity, originality and adaptability" shown by Israel in its early decades. But his own dismissal of the possibility of better relations with Iran, despite diplomatic progress to resolve the nuclear standoff, and his approval of authoritarian measures to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, illustrate the depth of Israel's alienation from its neighbors – as does his citing of a Israeli humorist's suggestion that Israel be detached from Asia and floated off to join Europe.
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