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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land, Updated in 2008 for the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of Israel (Taschenbuch)
This vibrant & colorful work on the diverse society of Israel incorporates interviews with a large number of individuals, insightful observations, facts of history and the constantly changing figures & statistics of the dynamic little country. This second updated edition covers the start of the new millennium, bringing the story up to date. Rosenthal deftly integrates the personal opinions of hundreds of individuals with the latest developments in a rapidly evolving society for a most intriguing portrait of the miracle nation at the centre of the earth, a country of more than 7 million people of different geographical, cultural & religious backgrounds. She avoids politics as much as possible which is a definite advantage.
Israel is a tiny sliver of decency where the rule of law applies, in a vast neighborhood of oppression stretching from the Atlas Mountains to the Arabian Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Its free media, its buoyant - sometimes even tumultuous - democratic process and its freedom of religion set it apart from the rest of the Middle East, from North Africa as well as Russia and the states of Central Asia. It manages to maintain this respect for life despite continuous belligerence from its Middle Eastern neighbors, threats of divestment, opprobrium from organizations like the United Abominations and an onslaught of homicide-suicide bombings, the results of which are documented in Life in the Shadow of Terror by Nechemia Coopersmith.
Rosenthal's writing style is enthralling and very honest, as she deals with dating, family attitudes to various issues, relations between the sexes, relationships across religious & ethnic divides and the role of the IDF in bringing people together. In this section, my ears were perking up every 3rd paragraph or so, admittedly for anything but pious reasons. Her examination of the IDF, a formidable fighting force, illuminates and entertains in an amusing manner as does her analysis of the country's impressive technological innovation, an issue more thoroughly covered in Israel in the World: Changing Lives Through Innovation by Helen & Douglas Davis.
The book recounts several dramatic instances of the ingathering such as those of the Beta Israel from Ethiopia and the massive influx of Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a valuable gain of skills in fields ranging from medicine to technology and culture. Regarding the Beta Israel, I highly recommend Operation Solomon by Stephen Spector, a book that recounts this tale of suspense in riveting detail. Rosenthal explains the difference between Ashkenazim, Sephardim & Mizrahim, Haredim, Orthodox and Secular as well as the diverse Arab and Christian communities. About 50% of Israeli Jews are descendents of refugees from North African & Middle Eastern states who fled or were expelled after the rebirth of the nation in 1948. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christian numbers are growing and Arab Christians are amongst the most wealthy & educated of citizens. Chapters are devoted to the Druze, the Muslim communities and the nomadic Bedouin who find themselves in a particularly interesting phase between tradition & modernity.
The final section deals with marriage, polygamy, adultery, divorce, sexual preferences and the use of substances. Considering the existential threats the country faces, especially from Hezbollah & Iran, and the psychological scars inflicted by two millennia of antisemitism, the negatives are not as severe as in other societies. One cannot but regret the occurrence of adultery, divorce and prostitution but even this part holds the reader's attention without depressing too much. Even in the sadness of these vices, a certain love of life shines through that is more affirmative than melancholy. However much those of us who love Israel would like to see less of this sort of thing, I think only Mashiach will ultimately solve these problems in wisdom & mercy.
The different communities comprising the nation of Israel might seem divisive on the surface but when assessed as a whole, thoroughly contemplated & digested, the words of all these individuals obliquely affirm an underlying unity in all the bewildering diversity. In other words, all the contributing cultural elements really serve to strengthen the soul of the nation. One highly admirable fact not discussed at length is Israel's embrace of Sudanese refugees from Darfur; while the world, the NGO's and the UN are babbling on without doing anything, Zion is extending mercy to those who by the grace of the Almighty manage to reach it. G-d bless Israel. This inspiring & uplifting book concludes with an epilogue, notes, bibliography and index.
The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land, Updated in 2008 for the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of Israel(12 Kundenrezensionen)
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