For the Future of Israel

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One of the greatest recent moments in the annals of peace during a century deeply marred by war and its atrocities was the handshake between longtime enemies Yitzak Rabin and Yassir Arafat in Washington, D.C., in 1993. Signifying a new era for the Middle East, the handshake was the public culmination of painstaking negotiations carried out by Shimon Peres, then Foreign Minister of Israel, and Palestinian representatives in Oslo, Norway. For their efforts, Rabin, Peres, and ...

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Baltimore, MD 1998 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. ABSOLUELY BRAND NEW (gift quality)! ! -No international shipping available Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 222 p. ... Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

One of the greatest recent moments in the annals of peace during a century deeply marred by war and its atrocities was the handshake between longtime enemies Yitzak Rabin and Yassir Arafat in Washington, D.C., in 1993. Signifying a new era for the Middle East, the handshake was the public culmination of painstaking negotiations carried out by Shimon Peres, then Foreign Minister of Israel, and Palestinian representatives in Oslo, Norway. For their efforts, Rabin, Peres, and Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

May, 1998, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Israel. For the Future of Israel reveals the character of a leader who participated in the birth of his country and whose thoughts remain ever on the future--on the basis and prospects for peace. In five conversations with novelist and former Newsweek correspondent Robert Littell, Peres reflects on his youth in shtetl and kibbutz, the impact of the Holocaust on world affairs, what it means to be a Jew, and the ongoing struggle to end terrorism and forge peace between Israel and its neighbors. Completed in late 1996 and 1997, the interviews reflect the changed state of Israel since the assassination of Yitzak Rabin (after which Peres was named Prime Minister and Defense Minister) and the subsequent election of a Likud-led government in Israel and its renegotiation of aspects of the Oslo agreements.

Peres speaks candidly of his negotiations with Arafat and of his close, complementary relationship with Rabin. Ranging widely over the last fifty years, he ponders the effect of the occupation of the territories on the character of his country. He gives his views on public figures he has known (among themBen Gurion, Mitterand, Reagan, Netanyahu, Yeltsin, and Clinton), the qualities of good leadership, and the dangers of fundamentalism and religious parties. He describes his approach to negotiations, one that sharply contrasts with those who believe that the terms of peace must be dictated: "To achieve peace, you cannot impose your position or any position--you have to urge parties to come to a position."He conveys his belief that the future of peace for Israel lies in replacing the unifying force of war with the unifying strength of a constitution and ethics.

This book is Peres' testament to the highest qualities of Israel and a thorough presentation of his deeply considered views on what must be done to preserve the country's spiritual and political aspirations.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In a series of five conversations, Peres ruminates on his life and experiences and the country he's served in so many capacities<-->as a member of the Knesset in 1959, minister of defense, prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, minister of finance, chairman of the opposition Labour Party, and founder of the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv. Littell, former journalist and author of 12 novels, asks insightful and provocative questions, drawing out Peres's personality, memories, and philosophical viewpoint. The book was originally published in French by Deno<:e>l as . Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Amos Oz
"For the Future of Israel" is a work of love, devotion, and vision no less than it is a pragmatic, analytic and wise program for Israel and for its neighbours into the next century. -- Amos Oz
Henry A. Kissinger
As Shimon Peres talks candidly about his life and of the parallel history of Israel, a memorable portrait emerges of a man of great integrity, courage and humanity. His account of the events and personalities that have shaped Israel and its search for peace with security is wise and often poetic. "For the Future of Israel" is both fascinating reading and a valuable historical document. -- Henry A. Kissinger
Kirkus Reviews
Five long, only fitfully fruitful conversations between Israelþs former prime minister who was the long-time rival to, ultimate collaborator with, and successor to the slain Yitzhak Rabin, and a Paris-based former Newsweek correspondent and novelist. Peres reveals a number of fascinating facts of which all but a handful of readers will have been unaware. For example, during Israelþs War of Independence, the Israeli forces executed one of its members allegedly spying for the British, only to learn later that he was innocent. Like Henry Kissinger, Peres has his share of bon mots, such as saying of Yasir Arafat that þwhen it comes to facts, he prefers to be a sort of Chagallþthings can float around.þ At times, Peresþs reflections are highly insightful, even profound, such as this on the Jews: þWeþre a dissatisfied people, a people that makes demands on itself, a people that the only electricity it knows is high-tensionþthere is no low tension in Jewish energy.þ Unfortunately, he also is sometimes prone, as his critics claim, to viewing both the past and present through rose-colored lenses; for example, he makes the dubious assertion that þwhen we left power [May 1996], the trust [between Israel and its partners in the peace process] was full. I think even today we enjoy a great deal of trust among the Arabs. Among the Palestinians." His impressions of world political leaders he has met are both replete with colorful anecdotes and often superficial. Peres and Littellþs book also could have used better organizationþtheir conversations sometimes seem rambling, flitting from topic to topic. Peres, of course, isstill too close to his own very eventful life to provide real autobiographical perspective with critical depth. This book, entertaining and occasionally instructive as it is, underscores the need for a good biography of one of Israelþs most important leaders.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801859281
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/1998
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Shimon Peres was born in Poland in 1923 and immigrated to Palestine with his family as a child. A member of the Knesset since 1959, he served as Israeli Minister of Defense (1974-17, a period that included the Entebbe rescue operation), Prime Minister (1984-86), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1986-88). On November 5, 1995, following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Peres was appointed Prime Minister and Defense Minister. He served in these two posts until the May 1996 elections. In 1997 Peres established the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv. He is the author of ten books, including The Next Step, David's Sling, Entebbe Diary, The New Middle East, and Battling for Peace. Robert Littell, a former Newsweek journalist, is the author of twelve novels, including The Revolutionist, The Visiting Professor, and Walking Back the Cat. An American citizen, he currently lives in France.

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