Natan Fund Names Winner of Inaugural Natan Book Award

My Promised LandThe Natan Fund, a grantmaking foundation that supports Jewish and Israeli social innovation, today announced the winner of the inaugural Natan Book Award: MY PROMISED LAND: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel (Spiegel & Grau; on sale: 11/19/13). MY PROMISED LAND is an authoritative, deeply personal, and long-awaited narrative history of the State of Israel by Ari Shavit, one of the most influential Israeli journalists writing about the Middle East today. Natan’s Book Award committee, co-chaired by Jeffrey Goldberg and Franklin Foer, with members David Brooks, Matthew Hiltzik, Simon Lipskar, Tali Rosenblatt-Cohen and Tali Farhadian Weinstein, was unanimous and enthusiastic in its selection of the book.

The Natan Book Award pioneers a new model in literary prizes, highlighting an exceptional, not-yet-published, non-fiction book on Jewish themes that has the potential to catalyze new conversations about Jewish life. The Award has two stages: a cash award of $15,000 to the author to be used during the writing or final editing of the book; and the unique second stage, up to $35,000 to be used to promote and distribute the book. Natan is working with the publishing house to customize a publicity, marketing, distribution, and programmatic plan for the book that will leverage Natan’s networks within the Jewish community and ensure that the book reaches broad, new, and diverse audiences.

My Promised Land is, in the Book Award Committee’s words, a “relentlessly fair” new history of Israel, a deeply knowledgeable, loving, and honest historical account, told through engaging portraits of some of the many people – famous and not – who have shaped this complicated country. Drawing on an almost thirty-year-long career of delving into his country’s most defining conflicts, ambitions, successes, and disappointments, Shavit chronicles Israel’s story up to the present moment, bringing history to bear on current events, and exploring his own family’s history in the process. The result is a landmark depiction of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a vital role in today’s global landscape.

About the Author: Ari Shavit is a leading Israeli columnist and writer. Born in Rehovot, Israel, Shavit served as a paratrooper in the IDF and studied philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In the 1980s he wrote for the progressive weekly Koteret Rashit, in the early 1990s he was Chairperson of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and in 1995 he joined Haaretz, where he serves on the editorial board. Shavit is also a leading commentator on Israeli public television. He is married, has a daughter and two sons, and lives in Kfar Shmariahu.

About The Natan Fund: The Natan Fund is a giving circle of young philanthropists committed to shaping the Jewish future. Members allocate their aggregated charitable funds to cutting-edge organizations, social entrepreneurs and thought leaders through a rigorous grant application process. Natan believes that educated, engaged, and entrepreneurial philanthropy can trans- form both givers and nonprofit organizations.

Natan is grateful to the Charles H. Revson Foundation for providing seed funding for the inaugural Natan Book Award.

If you are interested in bringing the book to your community, organization, or network, please be in touch with Lisa Capelouto at