Let Me Create a Paradise, God Said to Himself: A Childhood in South Africa and a Life in Israel

Overview


Hirsh Goodman's childhood in South Africa was white — and Jewish — in ways he did not initially appreciate. While the local culture brutally suppressed the black population, Hirsh and his friends marched off to Zionist Socialist meetings, full of rhetoric about equality, justice, and democracy — all within the context of Israel. By his midteens, Goodman could no longer ignore South Africa's anti-Semitism and racism. He soon left for Israel, never expecting that the promised land of his dreams would also prove to...
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Overview


Hirsh Goodman's childhood in South Africa was white — and Jewish — in ways he did not initially appreciate. While the local culture brutally suppressed the black population, Hirsh and his friends marched off to Zionist Socialist meetings, full of rhetoric about equality, justice, and democracy — all within the context of Israel. By his midteens, Goodman could no longer ignore South Africa's anti-Semitism and racism. He soon left for Israel, never expecting that the promised land of his dreams would also prove to be riven by ethnic and religious conflict. It was after marching victoriously through the Sinai as a paratrooper in the Six-Day War that Goodman heard David Ben-Gurion on the radio warning that Israel must rid itself of its Arab territories lest it "become an Apartheid state," a warning that had a very specific meaning to the young soldier. Then, as a journalist, Goodman witnessed firsthand all of Israel's subsequent troubles, from frontlines, to occupied zones, to the summits that attempted to find even a temporary peace.

Let Me Create a Paradise is a wise, warm, and wry memoir. It is one man's life story and the story of two divided nations in two different eras; the tragedies in their histories, and the hope that still exists for both of them.

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Editorial Reviews

Na'amat Womam Fall 2005 issue
"His memoir of his early years in South Africa..and his adaptation to life in Israel is warm, wise and wry. Readers..will find themselves fascinated..."
Times Literary Supplement 7/22/05
"... this 'journey' is not only highly readable but full of... glimpses into how Israel got to where it is today."
Ha'aretz 8/26/05
"He paints a vivid picture of the contradictions implicit in his warm Jewish home in Apartheid-era South Africa."
Publishers Weekly
This memoir by veteran journalist Goodman has a split personality. The first part is personal, a chronicle of his childhood in apartheid South Africa and his decision to move to Israel in 1965, when he was 20. Goodman conveys the ironies of growing up white and Jewish in Johannesburg, where the family servant was his "executive mother" and he imbibed an ideology of social justice in his Zionist-socialist youth group. With his Zionist passion and growing awareness of South Africa's injustices, Goodman went to Israel wide-eyed and eager, joining the paratroopers in his quest to become a real Israeli. But after serving in the 1967 war, Goodman became a reporter, and slowly this memoir shifts into its second gear, as reportage. He describes his growing awareness of "the big lie" behind the 1982 war in Lebanon and the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila. He highlights his view of a changing Israel through generational contrast: his own eager military service and the elation of the Six-Day War victory versus his son's escape from Israel in disgust after military service in the occupied territories. Goodman's writing is appropriately sober, almost hard-boiled, offering unsentimental insight into the trajectory many have made from Zionist passion to pain, from naivete to realism. Agent, Michael Levine. (Mar. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586482435
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author


Hirsh Goodman was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1946. He immigrated to Israel in 1965 and since 1971 has been a journalist, starting as the military reporter for the Jerusalem Post, then as editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Report. He has been a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report, a contributor to the New Republic, and a news analyst for CBS News. He is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. He is married, has four children and lives in Jerusalem.
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