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Exile in the Promised Land: A Memoir Paperback – April 1, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former pk Israeli Knesset member Freedman, now an organizer of Jewish women's peace activities in Berkeley, Calif., describes her struggle to bring women's liberation to Israel during the 1960s and '70s in a biting memoir extremely critical of the Israeli government. She chronicles with keen self-understanding her evolution from American immigrant housewife to feminist organizer and member of Shulamit Aloni's liberal Citizens Rights Movement to head of the radical Women's Party. She discusses forthrightly she had a definite point of view which I'm sure informs her opinions.g and sorrowfully such disappointments as pk her unsuccessful efforts to win support for abortion reform and to publicize the problem of wife-beating, the fragmentation of the women's movement and her growing isolation--which she attributes to her militancy, lesbianismdelete comma?/pk and support for Palestinian self-determination. While Freedman raises important questions about bias in Israeli society, she fails to provide sufficient evidence to pk back her serious allegations about government incompetence in dealing with discrimination, violence in the occupied territories and the conflict in Lebanon.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


In 1967, realizing a long held dream, Marcia Freedman moved with her husband and young daughter from the United States to Israel. Within four years she became a founding member of Israel's women's movement, fulfilling a need based on personal discoveries that "...housework and childcare are explosive when unshared; that anatomy need not be destiny; that anger is a rational response to oppression;...I learned that like Blacks, like Jews, women needed a liberation movement." In 1973 she was elected, unexpectedly, to the Knesset, Israel's governing body. Issues she raised about wife abuse or abortion choices were met with ridicule and personal attacks; these escalated as she became an outspoken proponent of Palestinian autonomy. Political life took its toll, and her marriage of thirteen years ended as she came to acknowledge and accept herself as a lesbian. In addition to shedding historical light on a critical area of the world, Marcia Freedman shows us a woman who struggled with questions bigger than herself, a woman who found some answers and even more questions. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Firebrand Books (April 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932379761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932379764
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,851,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By david coddington on May 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
There are many reasons why you enjoy a book. Sometimes it is because the book takes you to rare and exotic places. Sometimes it teaches you something new about yourself. Sometimes it is just a good read. And sometimes it is because you read about shared and common experiences. In this case reading the memoir was like going back in a time machine to an Israel that I knew and loved: the Israel of the late sixties and seventies. I found it enjoyable and nostalgic but I am not sure that other readers would feel the same emotions as myself. I am not sure the book is capable of transcending time and space and drawing the unaffiliated reader into the experience. One of the weaknesses of the book is its tone. ALthough the writer does attempt to be candid and confiding there is something patronising in her tone. It is hard to identify with her journey. SHe went from wife, to feminist parliamentarian, to exile. During the course of her journey I found it hard to locate the woman inside the narrator. I think the book is a good interesting read but I don't think it has a wide public appeal. If you're not a feminist or a zionist than the story is not strong enough to draw you in
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
How does one rate a book? By one's own reactions to it or by trying to assess its universal appeal. Or does one balance the assessment b juxtaposing both. In reviewing this book I am a bit puzzled, because I am torn between my own reactions and what I consider to be the real value of the book. For me as an Ammerican immigrant living in Israel, Marsha Freedman is an icon. She lived in Israel during the heady optimistic period which spanned from the 6 Day War to the Begin years. As one who shared those experiences and lived through them the book was a fascinating read. Although her autobiographical voice is erratic. It fluctuates between confessional and triumphant. THere are times she descends to name dropping and a bit of gossip. And I must admit I did relish these tidbits of gossip. Although I enjoyed the book thoroughly and could not put it down, I think that it has limited appeal. In oreder to appreciate it you have to be either a feminist or an expatriot living in Israel. I think anyone else would find it irrelevant
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus Cohn on March 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in Israel, Israeli politics, woman's rights, gay rights, or, just an inspirational story should read this book. OK, so the story of a woman who moves with her husband and daughter to Israel and becomes deeply involved in, first, Israeli politics, and, secondly, the women's movement, may not be for every reader - but, for those who have some interest in the above topics will be introduced to a truly remarkable individual. Maybe the most disappointing aspect of this story is the author's self-effacing tone as she describes her early years in Israel. She opens with a description of her first day in the Knesset as if she were a little girl in her father's study. By story's end her voice has evolved into one of confidence and direction. Too bad the reader has to wait for this strong voice to emerge. She has so much to offer.
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