As any Middle East specialist knows, there's no experience like being asked to speak in one of the major Israeli university fora: in the audience sit individuals with more knowledge and skills on Middle Eastern issues than perhaps anywhere else on the globe. And so, it is hardly surprising that scholars invited to address the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University rise to the occasion, preparing major addresses that deserve to be made available to a much wider audience. This is, fortunately, what the Dayan Center has chosen to do, and its associate director has edited the inaugural issue with verve.
Gabriel Warburg provides what is perhaps the most incisive analysis of Hasan at-Turabi, the "soft-spoken" Sudanese fundamentalist Muslim leader who disengenuously tells a gullible West that his goals can be achieved without violence. Bernard Wasserstein confronts the discrepancy between what Israelis would like to believe about the British Mandate in Palestine and the historical truths emerging from the archives. Bernard Lewis adeptly argues the obvious but rarely made point that the Arab-Israeli conflict is but one of the Middle East's many problems. Steven Humphreys takes up the intriguing and almost never discussed subject of historians who write in Arabic about the Middle East: why is that their voluminous writings rarely attract Western interest? And, conversely, why do they pay so little attention to Western scholarly efforts on the Middle East?