Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land Reissue Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0743270359
ISBN-10: 0743270355
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$8.95 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$10.66 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
70 New from $3.58 111 Used from $0.01 4 Collectible from $7.84
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

The Numberlys Best Books of the Year So Far
$10.66 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land
  • +
  • Israel since 1980 (The World Since 1980)
  • +
  • Israel / Palestine
Total price: $53.24
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Today's headlines leave the impression there's little to know about Israel outside of its conflict with the Palestinians. Using Hedrick Smith's landmark The Russians as a model, journalist Rosenthal, with years of experience in and knowledge of the Middle East, defies that notion, giving an in-depth look at the rich variety of people in the Jewish state. Relying on dozens of interviews, she gives a lively, variegated portrait of all facets of Israeli life. Terrorism and relations with the Palestinians are covered, but so are secular-religious tensions, Ashkenazi-Sephardi divisions, Israeli Arabs and Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia. Throughout, Rosenthal stresses the contradictions in Israel: a country steeped in historical and religious tradition that is trying to develop a high-tech economic future; a democracy that many see as favoring its Jewish citizens above its Arab ones; a country ruled in some ways by a rigid religious establishment that also maintains thriving gay and lesbian communities. Rosenthal displays prodigious reporting and allows the people themselves-whether Jewish or Arab, men or women, religious or secular-to speak, and their voices are alternately despairing and hopeful, defiant and conciliatory. As a result, she captures an entire country, one full of flux and drama, in as vivid and nuanced a way as possible: a former male model turns Orthodox; an Ethiopian who "had never used electricity... until he was twelve" now designs computers. With the huge interest in Israel among the reading public, this is likely to find a sizable audience.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Depending upon the source of the report, Israelis are either portrayed to Americans as stalwart but beleaguered allies in the war against terror or frequently brutal colonizers determined to maintain control over justifiably resentful Palestinians. Of^B course, both images can be true, and both can be terrible distortions of reality. Rosenthal, a journalist, television news producer, and lecturer at Hebrew University, has written a broad portrait of a people and of individual Israeli citizens that is interesting, compelling, and often surprising. As revealed by Rosenthal, Israel is a vibrant and amazingly diverse nation. Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait for the Messiah and hunt down and abuse "immodestly" dressed women in Jerusalem streets. Nearby, twenty-first-century entrepreneurs break new ground in high-tech industries. Children of Bedouin families strive to carve a niche for themselves in a relentlessly modernizing society, while other Israeli Arabs struggle to define their identity in a Jewish state. This is a refreshing book that humanizes people and helps to counteract news reports that usually stress acts of savage inhumanity. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reissue edition (February 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743270355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743270359
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A light, breezy entertaining bit of pop-ethnology, fit to put on the shelf with such classics as Hedrick Smith's _The Russians_, Dusko Doder's _The Yugoslavs_, and Luigi Barzini's _The Italians_. Rosenthal interviewed an impressive cross-section of Israeli society, from all backgrounds and viewpoints. It's especially affecting to read the interviews with the young people, whether Jewish, Muslim, or Christian, with their too-soon exposure to war's ugliness and their simultaneous brave hopes for the future. Caution: many if not most of the interviewees are pseudonymous.
It's a far-ranging book, with too many interesting foci to list completely: The decline of the collective ethic on Israel's kibbutzes. The insular nature of the ultra-Orthodox communities, and the painfully high human cost of leaving. The presence of ordinary vice and corruption, and how terrorists use the drug trade as a weapon of war. A potted history of Zionism, with many personal reminiscences of the 1948 war. Tours through the minority communities such as the Druze, the Bedouin, the Jews from Arab lands, and subcultures such as Russian prostitutes and gay Israelis.
Welcome inclusions are factual takedowns of widespread lies such as the Jenin "massacre". But polemics are not the meat of the book, the people are. It is very good to finally have some voices to put with the faces of this remarkable people. Let one of the interviewees have the last word:
"We're always in the headlines. _The New York Times_. CNN.
The BBC. We get more coverage than India. Than China. Than the entire continent of Africa. There's so much news about us, you'd think we're also a billion people, not six million. We're all the time on TV and front pages, so people think they know us. Unsmiling soldiers.
Read more ›
Comment 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I teach a course on the middle east at the University. After reading this book, I realized that very few of us so called "experts" actually know abiut the State of Israel in depth. Many of my colleagues including myself really have no advanced knowledge about Israel even though we claim to be "knowledgeable" about the issues. This book opened up eyes and my head to an Israel that you don't hear about in the media. the book goes in depth to describe Israelis of every religon, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and class. It also describes the lives of the average Israeli, which is absent in all media outlets. I have decided to assign this book as required reading for the class I will be teaching about the Middle East in the coming spring semester.
1 Comment 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well written book about Israel. It consists of plenty of anecdotal information about a wide variety of aspects of Israeli life.

We see young adults, the army, and entrepreneurs. We see divisions among Jews into Ashkenazim, Mizrahim, Russians, Africans, Haredim, Orthodox, and Non-Orthodox. And we see the internal and external worries and problems they have. More than that, we see their reaction to "the situation," namely the war of annihilation being fought by extremist Arabs against the Jews of the region.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the description of non-Jewish Israelis: the Muslims, Bedouin, Druze, and Christians. I was amazed by the tolerance shown by the Israeli public for outright disloyalty to Israel in time of war shown by many non-Jews. I can't imagine acting so against a nation I happened to be visiting, let alone one I lived in and might even be a citizen of. These sections convinced me that there won't be any peace in the region for a long time.

One item I can't agree with is the subtitle: ordinary people in an extraordinary land. In fact, while the people are much the same as people everywhere, the land is also much the same as land everywhere. Israel is, after all, a small country that looms much larger than life due to the enormous amount of ink that is spent on it. Still, given some of the more outrageous things we sometimes see written about Israel and Israeli society from Israel's detractors, this book is a very refreshing change indeed.
2 Comments 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I first read The Israelis about a year ago, and I enjoyed it very much. With the recent events in and around the country (the Hamas election victory, Ariel Sharon's new political party, his incapacitation) I decided to read it again. I started by looking up a few facts for a discussion group, and became so involved that I read the book a second time from cover to cover. I've discussed the book with friends from Israel, and all but one of them feel that it is an accurate view of modern life. The one person who didn't agree said it was "skewed," with not enough weight given to the various Orthodox communities and beliefs (she is Orthodox). The impression I had of her comments, though, were that she wasn't unhappy with the boook per se, but rather with the current path being taken by Israelis, and that this boook is promoting this path. My feeling was that it wasn't promoting, just reporting it as accurately as possible.

If you plan to take a trip to Israel, read this book first. You'll enjoy your trip much more than you expected.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land