on 26 January 2015
I shall probably amend this as time goes on. This book is written by a secular Jew who is an intellectual and who both loves and sympathises with Israel. She has her criticisms, many of which are both valid and illuminating. It’s a kind of spiritual/cultural/historical travelogue written by someone who has Israel in her soul, but questions its direction. As such it is def. worth reading and rereading. There are many levels and dimensions to it. It is a complex read but very well and clearly written in a straightforward style. The only thing to warn about is that the reader should have a thorough and deep knowledge and experience of the country or risks getting lost in the complexity.
I will write more as things come to me. It is a unique document and worth every penny.
on 4 April 2013
There is no question that what the author says about Israel today is important and accurate. The thesis is that Israel has shifted into its own orbit, one that makes it harder to engage with. Certainly the Israel even of 20 years ago has changed, become locked in to a series of values that are out of pace with the Diaspora. The chances of peace with the Palestinians has virtually disappeared from the discourse. To many if not most Israelis there is no occupation, the Palestinians Re all terrorists, and part of a wider Arab world in chaos, that cannot be trusted to come to terms with Israel, even less than before the Arab Spring. The problem with the book is that the author, whose mother tongue is French, apparently insisted on editing this English version herself. It was a mistake. Idioms and occasionally even spellings off names are almost but not quite right, and that really gets in the way of the read. Pity because the message,that if you want to understand current Israel, throw away most of your preconceptions, is right.