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Coming Together, Coming Apart: A Memoir of Heartbreak and Promise in Israel Hardcover – June 1, 2006
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"Whether describing a walk through Jerusalem in snow, a hike in the desert or a farewell family drive to the Gaza settlements, Gordis manages to capture the essential details that tell us the larger meaning of our Israeli lives. There is much irony in this book, and also anger, especially against those who unfairly judge Israel in its most desperate and noble times. Most of all, though, this book is the chronicle of a love story - of an immigrant family in Jerusalem falling in love with Israel and, through that love, discovering the strength to cope with life on the front lines of a Jihadist war. As a fellow Jerusalemite, I feel a profound debt to Gordis for explaining what it means to raise a family in the middle of a terror zone, and the courage that average Israelis instinctively display in maintaining the pretense of normal life. Those of us who share his passion are fortunate to be so well represented by this book."
—Yossi Klein Halevi, Foreign Correspondent, The New Republic
"Interesting conversation is Israel's most ingratiating commodity, and this is an especially interesting one. To read Coming Together, Coming Apartis to be engaged in an ongoing dialogue with one of Israel's most thoughtful observers - an American who made Israel his home, despite its imperfections and dangers. Gordis's conversational narrative is irresistible."
—Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel
From the Inside Flap
Prepare to experience a powerful, multilayered true love story like none you have ever read beforethe deeply resonant and satisfying memoir of a man struggling to hold his world together as his country is being torn apart.
When Daniel Gordis, his wife, Elisheva, and their three young children abandoned a safe and comfortable home in Los Angeles to move halfway around the world and find a new life in Israel, the future looked bright. It was 1998, Ehud Barak had just been elected prime minister, and peace appeared to be only a few tough negotiations away.
Two years later, hope had turned to terror, as the rattle of machine-gun fire perforated the night and the frightened, exhausted children clung desperately to their stuffed animals in fitful sleep, dreaming perhaps of the quiet, peaceful world they had left behind.
In Coming Together, Coming Apart, Gordis tells a timely, relevant, and deeply personal tale that lays bare the complex problems of the seemingly intractable and often incomprehensible Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reveals how much is at stake, and underscores the toll the struggle takes on every human being it touches.
How do you raise children in a land of suicide bombings and rocket attacks? Can a society preserve its moral principles through five decades of war? With the Intifada raging and America about to invade Iraq, with Saddam Hussein threatening missile attacks on Israel, how can anyone resist the temptation to hate the enemy? Writing with unparalleled sympathy, creativity, and hope, Gordis explores all of these questions and many more through a series of disarmingly simple anecdotes that nonetheless penetrate deeply into the heart of the matter.
In 2005, two disengagements loomed large for Gordis. The first, which grabbed headlines worldwide, was Israel's pullout from the Gaza strip and the eviction of Jewish settlers it could no longer protect. The second separation, occurring at the same time, was a more personal one: his daughter was drafted. With the country divided over the pullout and his own children marching toward a future potentially devoid of peace, Gordis peers deeply into the soul of a country where the more people appear bound together, the more completely they're torn apart.
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It covers the events of the Terror War (2000-2005), after Barak's offer of Gaza, half of Jerusalem and almost the entire West Bank to the Arabs was met by a bloody war of terror against Israel's population, launched by mass murderer Yassir Arafat.
He describes the wave of terror attacks, which engulfed Israel during this period, in which thousands of Israeli men, women and children were butchered in a war by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades the Popular Resistance Committees and the PFLP, to get the Jews out of the Land of Israel by killing them.
The experience of parents not knowing if that morning when their children left the house to go to school it would be the last time that they ever saw them.
Gordis reminds us that the Jews have no place to go other than Israel, and that the war is not about land but about the existence of the Jews in Israel.As the author writes "We are not leaving. Where could we possibly go? Does Europe want us back? It didn't work very well the last time we where there.
He describes the international furor over the security fence that enemies of Israel and her people the world over refer to as the 'Apartheid Wall', which has saved thousands of lives in Israel, which is probably why much of the world wants it taken down, so that terrorists can get into Israel to murder Jews.
The trial by the International Court of Justice' at the Hague, is not about the fence but about the existence of the Jews in Israel.
Arab inconvenience is treated as more important than Jewish lives.
The author describes the internal conflicts through the eyes of his family, and Israel, including about the forced removal of the Jewish population of Gaza in 2005.
I don't agree with the author's conclusions that there was no alternative.
I also disagree with the author that the idea of transfer of the hostile Arab population out of the Land of Israel is in any way more horrific than the expulsion and forced removals of Jews from parts of the Land (eventually all of the Land, accompanied by a Second Holocaust?)
The Gaza disengagement led directly to the Israel-Hezbollah War of 1996, and the destruction of the town of Sderot. Hamas attacking Israel with thousands of Kassam rockets in the last few years.
As Gordis' son Micha observes 'And right that every time Israel does something after they attack us, the world thinks Israel was wrong?'.
We get an overwhelming illustration of a Nation struggling to survive in a world in which millions would rather it did not exist.
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.