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Michael B. Oren (born 1955) is an American-born Israelimarker scholar, historian, author, now Israeli ambassador to the United States. Oren has published books, articles and essays on the subject of Middle Eastern history, and is the author of the best-selling Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, which won the Los Angeles Times History Book of the Year Award. He was a Junior Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalemmarker and a contributing editor to the The New Republic and the Shalem Center's quarterly journal, Azure.

Early life

Oren was born Michael Bornstein in upstate New Yorkmarker. His father was an officer in the U.S. Army who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and fought in the Korean War. Oren grew up in New Jerseymarker in a Conservative Jewish household. As the only Jewish boy in a Catholic neighborhood, he says he experienced anti-Semitism on a daily basis. In his youth, he was an activist in Zionist youth groups such as USY and a gold medal winning athlete in the Maccabiah Games. At 15, Oren made his first trip to Israel, working on Kibbutz Gan Shmuelmarker.

In 1977, Oren completed his undergraduate degree from Columbia University. He continued his studies at Columbia, receiving a Masters in International Affairs in 1978. After college, he spent a year as an adviser to the Israeli delegation to the United Nations headed by Yehuda Blum.In 1979, Oren immigrated to Israel. A few years later, Oren returned to the United States to continue his education, studying at Princeton Universitymarker. In 1986, he earned a Ph.D. in Near East Studies.

Military service

In 1979, Oren joined the Israel Defense Forces. He served as a paratrooper in the 1982 Lebanon War. His unit was caught in a Syrian ambush on the second day of the war. His commander was killed and nearly everyone was wounded. He then joined a unit stationed in Sidon. Oren married in the summer of 1982 and returned the next day to Beirut.During the 1991 Gulf War he was Israeli liaison officer to the U.S. Sixth Fleet.He served as an army spokesman in the IDF Reserves during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, he was a media relations officer.

Academic career

In 2006, Oren was a visiting professor at both Harvardmarker and Yale Universitymarker. He continued teaching at Yale in 2007. Beginning in 2008, he became a visiting professor at Georgetown University’smarker School of Foreign Servicemarker for the 2008-2009 academic year as part of the faculty associated with the Program for Jewish Civilization.

Diplomatic career and activity

On May 3, 2009, Oren was appointed as Ambassador of Israel to the United States by Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, succeeding Sallai Meridor.

Ambassador Oren strongly condemned the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict report, which determined Israel was guilty of possible war crimes. In October 2009 op-ed in the The New Republic, he stated, “The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves.”

In October 2009, Oren declined an invitation to attend a conference hosted by J Street, a left-leaning advocacy group that has been critical of the Obama administration as well as the Israeli government's policies.

Writings

Political commentary

Oren has written many articles commenting on current political issues. He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic.

Middle East history

Power, Faith and Fantasy, a history of American involvement in the Middle East, was published by Norton and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Power, Faith and Fantasy earned positive reviews from Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Willamette Week.

Oren's Six Days of War is an historical account of the events of the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The book was widely praised by critics and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History. It spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The New York Times Book Review wrote positively of Six Days of War, as did the Washington Post which calls it "not only the best book so far written on the Six Day War, it is likely to remain the best."

Fiction

Oren has also ventured into fiction. His book Reunion was published in 2004. According to Publishers Weekly, it tells of how "[f]ive decades after an unforgettable winter at Saint-Vith in Belgium's Ardennes Forest, the surviving members of the 133rd Infantry Battalion receive invitations out of the blue to an on-site reunion. None of the men, despite age and its array of related obstacles, believes that it's an offer he can refuse. And in every case, the invitation opens a Pandora's box of guilty memories and recriminations. Oren captures the rhythms of these melancholy reveries with nicely observed portraits of lives nearing completion."

Published work

  • Oren, Michael (2002). Six Days of War:June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0345461926.
  • Oren, Michael (2003). Reunion. New York: Plume. ISBN 978-1931561266.
  • Oren, Michael (2007). Power, Faith, and Fantasy: The United States in the Middle East, 1776 to 2006. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0393330304.
  • Hazony, David; Hazony, Yoram; and Oren, Michael B. (Eds.) (2007). New Essays on Zionism. Shalem Press. ISBN 978-9657052440.


References

  1. Michael Oren appointed to US envoy role, Jerusalem Post, 2 May 2009
  2. 'Enjoying Every Minute', Haaretz
  3. C-SPAN Transcript of 2002 Interview with Michael Oren
  4. 'Enjoying Every Minute', Haaretz
  5. Michael Oren's Profile on WritersReps.com
  6. 'Enjoying Every Minute', Haaretz
  7. "An interview with Michael Oren," The Jerusalem Post, January 18, 2007
  8. Princeton Weekly Bulletin, November 18, 2002
  9. Michael Oren's Official Website
  10. 'Enjoying Every Minute', Haaretz
  11. http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/01/04/back-to-the-front.aspx
  12. http://pjc.georgetown.edu Georgetown.edu
  13. Georgetown University News, February 27, 2008
  14. From The TNR Archives: Michael B. Oren, The New Republic website, April 21, 2009.
  15. Newsweek review
  16. Wash Post review
  17. NY Times review
  18. sfgate.com review
  19. wweek.com review
  20. [1]
  21. Wash Post article


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