on April 3, 2004
I was both moved and shocked as I turned the pages of this book and I could only identify with the comments of one contributor who suggested that the book should be "written in tears instead of ink". Such are the depths of suffering revealed in this work.
The book openly declares that words are insufficient to express the scope of the pain and tragedy suffered by the individuals and families referred to in this study. The source further citing words as also being inadequate to describe the kind of evil that "places a nine month old Jewish baby in the crosshairs of a rifle & pulling the trigger", as well as the "evil" that detonates a bomb amongst a hotel full of elderly Jews & their families sitting down to celebrate Passover.
Reference is made to what is described as the shattering of thousands of Jewish families who have been plunged into what is depicted as a daily struggle of survival, adversity and aching loss. All of which permeate the pages of this compassionate study.
Through numerous first person accounts, the reader is presented with a very personal, almost tangible, encounter with the consequences of such terrorism. The reader being confronted with many accounts from individuals who have themselves witnessed, survived or endured such attacks.
The cover of this extremely moving and well written book (which is dedicated to the "victims of Arab terror"), declares that an allegedly prejudiced International media has prevented the wider public at large from truly understanding the realities of living in Israel under a virtual shadow of Arab terrorism. An experience defined here as being amongst the most painful and tumultuous in Israel's very existence.
Furthermore the book also takes the time to clarify what it cites as the fundamental issues pertaining to the Middle East conflict and through carefully constructed arguments it also proceeds to dispel what it describes as the "myths and double standards" promoted in the media and amongst the International community & the political realm.
One section illustrating how the vast number of Arab & Islamic states have what is termed as a "disproportionate voice" in setting an alleged anti-Israeli agenda at the United Nations, where for 53 years Israel has been the only UN member denied a seat on the UN Security Council, whilst Arab/Islamic states often sit there two at a time. Replete with detail, this particular section deserves reading on it's own merits.
Replete with references the reader is presented with the "war of words" where it is alleged that the Arab world and the media have indeed distorted the very "language of the conflict" to the extent that the truth has been obscured and where Israel has allegedly been robbed of the ability to persuasively present the validity of her cause to the World with any clarity.
Whilst this study recognises the power of the media to influence public opinion, the book simultaneously provides the reader with a ready reference to the "seven rules of media objectivity" which are supposed to govern reporting of the news. In parallel to this, the reader is also shown (through a very convincing argument) how frequently each and every rule is allegedly violated in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
Another illuminating and disturbing section describes the alleged views of the late Faisal Husseini, the former PLO representative in Jerusalem. Reference is made to Husseini's quoted remarks of 2001, which are shown to outline that the alleged diplomatic policies of the Palestinian Authority are no more than a "Trojan Horse" to obtain as much Israeli territory as possible in the PLO's "phased plan" to eventually eradicate Israel and replace the Jewish state with an Islamic Palestine from "the river to the sea".
The book uses an extensive range of sources in this excellent work. Amongst a seemingly endless list are Elie Wiesel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Efraim Karsh and Dore Gold etc..
This is indeed a very painful and extremely powerful book that is an absolute must read for a fuller understanding of the Middle East conflict and it is a vital addition to anyone's library on the Middle East without which the suffering endured by an Israeli society condemned to what is cited as a "siege of terrorism" may be difficult for an outsider to understand.
Towards the end, the book declares that Israel is more than a place to live but a piece of earth "inextricably bound up with the soul of the Jewish people" and elaborating that God Himself loves the Land of Israel more than the most fervent Zionist (quoting the source as the Torah).
I have allocated this book five stars, but in reality, that is just not enough, as this is a priceless study. Might I also recommend to those interested in the Palestinian-Israeli issue a book (edited by Raphael Israeli) entitled "The Dangers Of A Palestinian State". Thank you for your time.
on June 10, 2005
This finely crafted treasure, edited by Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith and Rabbi Shraga Simmons portrays life in Israel today , and the trials and tribulations faced by Israel and it's people.
It shows you what a prejudiced media will not dare to let you see, because their agenda is to prepare the world for genocide of the Jews of Israel, through a monstrous propaganda machine, never seen since Goebbels and Der Sterner paved the way for the holocaust.
The book is dedicated to the victims of Arab terror , and the first of four sections is a harrowing and heartwrenching portrait of the horrific terror faced by the people of Israel, since Yasser Arafat launched a war of genocide against the Israeli people In this he has been fully backed , in his evil plans , by the international media, world academia,the international left, the United Nations and other powerful global interests.
This part of this phenomenal work shows you that victims of terror are real, that the suffering of the people of Israel is real, no less so because they are ignored by the media and universities.
As the editors write in the Introduction to the book "Words can never describe the kind of evil that straps a belt of explosives and detonated it in a hotel filled with elderly Jews celebrating Passover, in a pizza parlour, in a shopping mall, at a bar mitzvah celebration, a cafe, a disco, a city bus, a university cafeteria; the evil that places a nine year old baby in the cross-hairs of a rifle and pulls the trigger, an evil that publicly lynches two reserve soldiers who made a wrong turn into Ramallah; an evil that murders parents and children on their way home from prayers at the Western Wall; an evil that stones to death two teenage boys to the point where dental records are requited to identify their bodies".
It deals with the trauma of the familes of those who where murdered by Arab terror , and the pain and courage of those who survived.
As we read throught the case histories of some of the +- 1000 Jews killed and tens of thousands injured in the last five years of terror, we are astounded by how resilient are the people of Israel in the face of this onslaught , as well as how cold-blooded and savage her loathsome enemies are:
"All I see in my mind's eye is a woman shrieking as she turns to see her two-year old daughter , in her stroller , engulfed in flames. She reaches to pull her daughter out of the fire-but can't because the explosion that has sheathed the carriage in flames has blown off her own arm below the elbow. She can't pull her daughter out of the burning carriage because she no longer has two hands."
A few of the cases covered: Thousands of Israeli Jewish men, women and children have died from bombs, bullets or knife attacks, and thousands of others have been maimed, blinded, orphaned, widowed and terrorized.
Two years ago on the eve of the Jewish New Year, seven month old Shaked Abraham was shot dead in her crib by an Arab murderer who forced his way into her parent's house as the family was celebrating the New Year.
A ten-month-old Jewish baby, Shalhevet Pass, was shot in her father's arms by an Arab sniper in 2001.
The following year, a five-year-old girl, Danielle Shefi, was shot to death at point blank range by an Arab killer, while cowering under her parents' bed.
That same year, two boys, four- and five-years old, where shot dead together with their mother as she read them a bedtime story, in a left-wing kibbutz, by Arab terrorists.
Over 25% percent of Jewish children living in Israel do not have enough food to eat as a result of the Intifada (war of extermination) waged by Yasser Arafat, along with the economic boycotts initiated by sympathizers of the Palestinian plans of genocide against the Israeli people.
Two particularly wrenching articles are those on the Dolphinarium disco massacre on June 1 2001 where 21 young Israelis-mostly teenagers were killed and dozens critically injured and maimed when a Palestinian homicide bomber blew himself up near the Dolphinarium dico in Tel Aviv. And the article by the mother of Kobie Mandell, a teenage boy brutally beaten and stoned to death, together with a friend, by a mob of Palestinian murderers in a cave near Tekoa, their community south of Jerusalem. Koby's mother expresses her pain that so many media outlets buy into the lie that refers to the murderers who kill innocent Israelis are not terrorists trying to instill fear into and demoralize Israelis but rather are 'militants' engaged in a struggle against an oppressive government.
Parts two and three 'Israel Perspectives' and 'Israel Diaries' cover the lives and perspectives of the people living in the Land of Israel, and of the Jewish people generally.
Professor Laurie Zoloth details her experiences of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate at San Fransisco State University.
The fourth section involves seperating the facts from the myths , which have been so obscured by the media and universities.
Articles by William J Bennett , Benjamin Netanyahu , and Ephraim Karsh detail the facts behind the conflict and the history of terrorism. There is a super article by Rabbi Ken Spiro about the history of Jerusalem ,and the conflicting Jewish and Moslem claims to Jerusalem , and the fifth deals with the choice faced by Jews in the diaspora to return to Israel, the ancient Jewish homeland-to make 'Aliyah'.
There is a helpful chapter detaling 55 ways to help Israel.
In summing up, Rabbi Shalom Schwartz reminds us that 'Since Camp David, 2000 , it has become painfully obvious that this conflict is not primarily about land , it is about Jews.
The book deals a lot with the spiritual side to the conflict , urging Jews to improve themselves spiritually .It is primarily about Love of the three most important things to the Jewish people.
Love for the Land of Israel
Love for the People of Israel
And love for the Torah of Israel.
The book affirms the extraordinary spirit of the people of Israel,
the most humane, giving, life-affirming people on the planet--
whatever sick propaganda you might have read to the contrary.
The past four years have been largely fashioned by the violent and cruel stepping-up of the campaign of those Arabs that call themselves `Palestinians', and their international networks of support, to destroy the Jewish homeland. This attack on Israel is not merely for a piece of land. It is an attack on decency, truth, compassion, respect for human life, on the sense of honor and on the Judeo-Christian spirit.
In the face of this growing terror, it may seem to be whistling in the wind to call for confidence. Yet it is good to remember the Jews are not fighting alone. Many Christians in the lands where freedom is still valued realize the assault on Israel is an assault on Judeo-Christian civilization, and that the Islamists and their extreme Left allies are a common enemy.
It is good to remember also that the Jews have shown a capacity for resistance and survival that has never been equaled. There have been others who have attempted what the Palestinians and their sympathizers are attempting, such as Pharaoh, Amalek, Haman, Antiochus, Torquemada, Chmielnicki, Hitler and Stalin.
It may require a miracle for Israel to survive the contemporary Amalek, the most powerful incarnation of them all. But the very existence of the Jewish people after so long a travail is itself a miracle. It is clear that God has always pulled the Jewish people through and ensured the total defeat of our enemies.
Jews and Israel must once again call up their reserves of courage and hope and, in alliance with the pro-freedom forces that still survive, continue to fight back. Perhaps our stamina, tested so often in the past, will once again help us over this grave crisis. Most importantly God will once again destroy our enemies and save Am Yisrael.
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-Israel 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.
on October 28, 2004
Have you been bombarded with news about the terrorist attacks on Israel? If so, what viewpoint do you get to see? Perhaps sympathetic stories about the terrorists and their families? Along with explanations that the main problem is "Israeli greed?" And Israel's "illegal theft of Arab land?" And the horror of Israel permitting Jews to live in Judea?
If so, then I think this book is for you. Its many essays tell, in dramatic style, how things look from an Israeli perspective. There are a wide variety of articles about the effect of all this terror on Israel and Israelis. Some of the essays that impressed me the most were written by Tuvia Grossman, Sherri Mandell, Elie Weisel, Natan Sharansky, Sue Tedmon, Laurie Zoloth, Efraim Karsh, Israel Asper, Jeff Jacoby, Dore Gold, and Ephraim Shore. Near the end of the book, there is also an excellent article called "Fifty-five Ways to Help Israel."
I recommend the entire book, and I think aish.com and the editors (Nechemia Coopersmith and Shraga Simmons) deserve plenty of compliments for their fine work.