- Hardcover: 283 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (December 8, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520205219
- ISBN-13: 978-0520205215
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,032,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem First Edition Edition
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In 1996 Jerusalem celebrated 3000 years since the biblical conquest by King David. Even that celebration, marking the city as historically Jewish, is a political statement. The city cannot escape fiercely argued claims to primacy argued in religious, political or historical terms, not only between Israeli-Jew and Palestinian-Arab, but between Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions, and between secular and orthodox Jews. Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli Jew, is a former deputy mayor of the city he was born in, and knows the physical city as well as it can be known. He takes us on a tour of Jerusalem, and attempts to evenhandedly lay out the problems that beset it, and to convey the history and value of the city he loves.
From Publishers Weekly
"The chronicles of Jerusalem are a gigantic quarry from which each side has mined stones for the construction of its myths?and for throwing at each other." Benvenisti, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem and author of Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land, describes the importance of Jerusalem to Jews, Muslims and Christians and the ancient acrimony that has arisen from their competing interests. Benvenisti outlines the follies of all claimants, while stressing the wrongs of the Jews and the U.S. government as well, which he accuses of using "verbal gymnastics" to appear neutral while in fact siding with the Jewish population. Most readers will already agree with Benvenisti about the importance of finding an answer to "the Jerusalem problem," so he could have done without the overblown pronouncements: "A bomb is waiting to go off in the heart of Jerusalem, its fuse burning with the fire of the religious fanaticism of Jew, Muslim, and Christian." After long analysis of various solutions, he has little to add of his own, save to say that there is no solution. What is needed, he says is a "'process-oriented' approach," one that is "solidly planted in the 'mud' of reality; there is no previously determined final and definitive goal. On the contrary, the assumption is that the two parties have conflicting final goals, and that it is pointless to exert oneself in the pursuit of a common goal, except for the purpose of conducting the dialogue."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course the distortion allows Benvinisti to conveniently frame the battle of Jerusalem as one of Israeli territorialism and aggression, presenting the scheming Ben Gurion and his cabinet. But while such a dishonest representation may serve Benvinisti's political agenda, it does not service students interested in serious historical research and a true understanding of political issues.
By all means, there is a legitimate Palestinian historical and nationalistic perspective, which should be studied, understood and appreciated, but use of such blatant historical distortion does not favor it, it only undermines its credibility.