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In my heart, I call to their mothers, 'Take your sons to your houses. Bind them to your chairs; gag them, blindfold them if necessary until they grow calm. Then teach them, for they have forgotten, about peace, about the blessed life, about a future—a present—without pain.' Beneath their prayers, in their morning cups of coffee, beneath their love-making and their child-rearing, and in their sorrow, especially in their sorrow when burying their dead, I hear the simmering of heating souls; I smell the charge of ...
In my heart, I call to their mothers, 'Take your sons to your houses. Bind them to your chairs; gag them, blindfold them if necessary until they grow calm. Then teach them, for they have forgotten, about peace, about the blessed life, about a future—a present—without pain.' Beneath their prayers, in their morning cups of coffee, beneath their love-making and their child-rearing, and in their sorrow, especially in their sorrow when burying their dead, I hear the simmering of heating souls; I smell the charge of armies, of lives exploding uselessly into smithereens. I sit in mourning over a disaster still to come. In Israel, the lives of three women interweave with the story of their country. Ratiba, an Israeli journalist, turns her back on her heritage to marry an Israeli Arab. Her sister Orit, an actor, lives alone and longs for her lost sister. Elisheva is a nurse who dedicates her life to the wounded and the dying. As their lives unfold, the three women find themselves facing choices they would never have envisioned. This is a story of secrets and alienation, yet also of hope and heroism. It is about Arabs who save Jews from disaster and Jews who heal Arabs. It is the story of everyday people torn and desperately searching for the right path. Here, the ancient pulsates in present time and the biblical holds prominence with the secular. Beneath this modern-day drama unfolds the story of a land and its people, revealing the historical trajectory of two peoples, victims and perpetrators of a biblical curse 'This perceptive, poignant novel offers a fresh and essential outlook on Israel. With memorable characters and an abundance of drama, Israela is gripping reading.' - Lou Aronica, New York Times bestselling author
Posted September 11, 2011
Israela, by Batya Casper, Ph.D. is a mesmerizing read that gives audiences a glimpse into the complexities of life in Israel. Using an intriguing three-person narrative format that revolves around the central characters, the author allows the reader to step into each character's predicament, thereby fully grasping the emotion and conflict surging within. More importantly, Casper's well-researched and thorough revelations about Israel portray the constant turmoil that its residents, both Arab and Jew, face on a daily basis. Beyond race and ethnicity, Israela is Israel's story-the story of humanity.
Ratiba, a journalist who goes against her family and culture to marry an Israeli Arab, Orit, whose career in theater is plagued by her desire to reunite with Ratiba, and their nurse cousin, Elisheva, are the central characters of Israela. For readers, it doesn't take long before it becomes apparent that their parallel universes will collide and their fates are intertwined.
Skillfully written, Casper blankets the characters in a cloud of secrecy and delivers surprises at the most unexpected of times. When each character's individual conflict merges into one resounding cry of hope and heroism, the book takes on a special meaning that transcends individualism and emphasizes the selfless nature of human beings turned heroes.
The plot essentially explores the relationship between the three characters. Hamzah-Ratiba's son and Orit's nephew-who lands at Orit's house, bridging the gap between Orit and her long-lost sister. In Hamzah's own words, he tells his mother that Orit is "the aunt who took me in, who loved me almost as much as you." Interestingly, Elisheva, Ratiba's cousin, encounters Hamzah in a life or death situation. Will her experience as a nurse allow her to tend to her nephew? Can Hamzah ultimately succeed in bringing together his estranged family?
Casper's Israela provides a panoramic view of the character's thoughts and actions by employing multiple shifts in narration. Interesting and informative, Israela is a must read!
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