2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Disturbing and heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting,
This review is from: Israel: Life In The Shadow Of Terror (Hardcover)
This moving book contains an impressive selection of essays on Israel. These deal with all angles of life, history and politics, like the reality of living with terror on a daily basis, the Mideast War and the question of immigrating to Israel. Above all, it provides a stirring portrait of ordinary people going about their business, and then frames these accounts into a bigger picture of world history. There are some prominent names amongst the contributors, like Elie Wiesel, Natan Sharansky, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeff Jacoby, Ken Spiro, Jack Kemp and Jeanne Kirkpatrick.
The first part, Living With Terror, deals more specifically with eyewitness accounts of terrorist incidents up to 2003. This section can be quite harrowing and might be very disturbing to sensitive readers. Still it is important to know since the mass media hardly ever reports on the suffering of Israelis. The dignity and courage of the survivors of such attacks are remarkable.
Part Two: Israel Perspectives, includes a powerful essay by Sharansky plus many more fascinating pieces by Wiesel, Sarah Rigler and Rabbi Wein. The most memorable chapters include thoughts on Israel's independence day, the Zionist Dream and the Holy Land as a home for the soul. It concludes with the illuminating chapter Why Jerusalem Matters by Rabbis Braverman and Shraga Simmons.
Part Three: Israel Diaries, contains more accounts of experiences with terror in Israel and a chapter on Anti-Semitism on a campus in the USA. Amongst the most chilling are the essays Coffee With My Enemies by Sarah Shapiro and Insidious Palestinian Television by Sue Tedmon.
Part Four: The Mideast Conflict, contains insightful articles on the root cause of terrorism, Jewish and Muslim claims on Jerusalem, anti-globalisation and Anti-Semitism, and dishonest reporting. This is a most revealing section of the book as it uncovers the lack of media objectivity and the downright lies, like the supposed Jenin massacre where nothing of the kind ever took place. The history of the land is discussed and the facts about the various wars since 1948 are clearly provided. This part includes discussions of the Jewish and Arab refuges since 1948 and concludes with Ephraim Shore's 15 Things I Don't Understand About The Peace Process.
The final section: Coming Home, talks about the choice faced by Diaspora Jews to return to Israel, to make 'Aliyah' to their ancient homeland. It includes a chapter on practical ways of supporting Israel, called Fifty-five Ways To Help Israel. The book concludes with a memorable essay by Sara Rigler: Loving The Land Of Israel. She concludes that the land of Israel is the place that God has designated for His rendezvous with the Jewish people. How could they spurn this opportunity now?
This book has deeply moved me as a non-Jew, and I now understand the complex situation much better. Those who wish to know the truth about the Mideast conflict will find more than enough verifiable facts here. Moreover, a lot of the writing is filled with an authentic spirituality that is highly inspiring. I started the book with a sense of horror as I read about the victims of terror, but I ended it with a great sense of upliftment.
Israel within its current borders is a tiny sliver of decency in a neighbourhood of unspeakable evil. Surrounded by oppressive regimes, under daily terror attack and facing hostile world opinion, this brave little country nevertheless holds on to its values of democracy and the rule of law. Although the people have been paying a high price for military preparedness, there are signs of increasing prosperity as Israeli scientists are amongst the best in the world and the people are blessed. Israel has so much to contribute, if the world will only let it.
I would like to refer the interested reader to the following titles of related interest: Unholy Alliance by David Horowitz, The New Antisemitism by Phyllis Chesler, Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G Bard, The Nazi Connection To Islamic Terrorism by Chuck Morse and The Mountains Of Israel by Norma Archbold Parrish. God bless Israel and all those who love her.