Beyond the Promised Land

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After a century of enmity between Jew and Arab, nearly three decades of occupation, and six years of a bloody intifada, Israeli leaders are doing the unthinkable - shaking hands with their Arab adversaries. In Beyond the Promised Land, Pulitzer Prize-winner Glenn Frankel unlocks these last seven turbulent years of civil unrest, political upheaval, and diplomatic crisis, in which many of the long-standing assumptions, beliefs, and practices that lay at the very heart of Israeli society were shaken, challenged, and...
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Overview

After a century of enmity between Jew and Arab, nearly three decades of occupation, and six years of a bloody intifada, Israeli leaders are doing the unthinkable - shaking hands with their Arab adversaries. In Beyond the Promised Land, Pulitzer Prize-winner Glenn Frankel unlocks these last seven turbulent years of civil unrest, political upheaval, and diplomatic crisis, in which many of the long-standing assumptions, beliefs, and practices that lay at the very heart of Israeli society were shaken, challenged, and ultimately swept aside or remade. Beginning with the Palestinian intifada, a wholly unexpected explosion of popular rage and great expectations that shattered the low-cost, low-pain status quo in which Israel and its Palestinian subjects had been frozen for twenty years, Frankel charts the rise of new political forces inside Israel, and the roles that the arrival of nearly half a million Jewish immigrants, the death of socialism, the eclipse of Arab military power, and the ascendancy of the United States all played in the remaking of the Jewish state. Frankel tells this tale through the stories of the people swept up in the change. Some characters, such as prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin and Russian activist Natan Sharansky, are major actors whose names and faces are well known. Others, like religious party leader Arye Deri, army general Amram Mitzna, and Likud politician Dan Meridor, are known to most Israelis but are far less familiar to the outside world. And still others, like former kibbutznik Haim Goren and Palestinian academic Jad Isaac, are barely known outside their own small communities.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Israel is making the transition from a collectivist, mobilized garrison state to a more open, pluralistic, consumer-oriented and democratic country, according to Frankel, former Jerusalem bureau chief for the Washington Post (and now its London correspondent). This superb, gripping piece of reportage is a pivotal account of a new Israel struggling to be born. Frankel views the Palestinian intifada-which shattered Israel's status quo, forcing Yitzhak Shamir's government into a halfhearted peace proposal that almost caused his downfall-as the opening step in the process of change. Among the other catalytic forces he identifies are the slow crumbling of Israel's centralized socialist-oriented economic establishment; the arrival of a half-million Soviet Jewish refugees, which exposed weaknesses in Israel's housing and education sectors and job market; and the rise of the ultra-religious yet populist Shas Party, which preaches reconciliation between hawks and doves. Interviews with Shamir, Russian Jewish activist Natan Sharansky, Israeli army general Amram Mitzna, who was in charge of suppressing the Palestinian uprising, and with Palestinian activists and Israelis of diverse political views flesh out this chronicle. Author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The "Peace Process," which is winding from Madrid through the Middle East, seems to have made the Arab-Israeli conflict pass. Frankel, a journalist with a fond appreciation for Israel, draws a rhetorical picture of the social changes that the politics of peace has brought to the region as well as to the Israelis and Palestinians. Frankel builds upon a spate of books that appeared just before the intifada: Amos Oz's In the Land of Israel (LJ 11/15/83), David Shipler's Arab and Jew (LJ 11/15/86), and Thomas L. Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem (LJ 7/89). He covers the agony of the Palestinian uprising and the pain and suffering that both peoples have undergone, the political role of Israel during the Persian Gulf War, and the relationship of the Bush administration with Israel. This is a good general survey of contemporary events, placing them in an understandable context. Strongly recommended for a wide audience.-Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C.
Gilbert Taylor
This journalistic narrative spans five years of Israeli history, from the 1987 onset of the intifada to the 1992 electoral defeat of the hard-line Likud bloc. The public now knows that the Labor Party victory was a watershed leading to Rabin's shaking the hand of Arafat; Frankel recounts how that spectacle resulted from innumerable clashes on the ground between Arab and Jew. Frankel tracked these often deadly encounters as the "Washington Post"'s reporter on the spot and fills these pages with detailed narratives of ordinary individuals swept up by the uprising and crackdown. One tale of Palestinian Jad Isaac's jailing is matched by a profile of the Israeli general in charge (Amram Mitzna); similarly, when the scene shifts to the raucous proceedings that pass for Knesset debate, Frankel personifies the underlying questions that agitate Israeli identity (Are you Sephardim or Ashkenazi? Secular or religious?). His purpose with this human-interest method is to mark the passing of the Zionist generation, along with its socialistic institutions and militant posture, and the coming, with grave anxieties, of peace negotiations. A knowledgeable, unflamboyant report that is not as likely to create as huge a demand as did the retrospective of another American reporter's assignment to Israel, Thomas Friedman's "From Beruit to Jerusalem".
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671796495
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 11/28/1994
  • Pages: 416

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