Library Journal - Library JournalChafets, an American-born Israeli journalist who was director of the Israeli Government Press Office (1977-82), has written a wry, perceptive account of his adopted country. Unlike Amos Oz, whose recent In the Land of Israel ( LJ 11/15/83) portrayed a country bereft of idealism and torn apart by extremists, Chafets writes from a positive perspective. While he never minimizes Israel's problems or offers glib solutions, he celebrates the average Israeli's ability to live with myriad contradictions: there is a tennis-playing insurance executive who goes off to war every few months; a prostitute who boasts of her descent from a famous rabbi; a Chinese restaurant and a Talmudic academy in the same building. Chafets's engrossing analysis of Israel belongs in most libraries. Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Israel based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
There are times while reading this book that one feels in the hands of a first-rate middle-east journalist, a la Thomas Friedman. The writing can be colorful, and like Friedman, Chafets is at his best when he reduces historic personages and events into mundane terms. Unlike Friedman, though, Chafets is not an outsider, but an American that made Aliyah some thirty years ago. As a result, his writing has an odd mixture of reverence (especially for the common man of Israeli culture) and disillusionment. He has surely embraced its culture, though, it seems he has yet to choose a side, making the book more superficial than penetrating.