The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land (Updated in 2008)

The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land (Updated in 2008)

by Donna Rosenthal

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The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land (Updated in 2008) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This new 2008 edition is a wonderful gift for readers of different religions, political backgrounds and ages. I was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. As soon as I started reading The Israelis, I simply could not put it down. I learned about many varied faces of Israelis. The clear and easy prose and style of writing, the historical and political facts, the colorful anecdotes are enthralling and captivating. The book made me think and rethink about different issues that are an integral part of daily life in Israel -- and by extension throughout the Arab world. It's packed full of information about different types of Arabic speaking Israelis -- Israeli Muslims, Christians and Druze. I learned a lot about their relationships within their communities and with other Israelis and Arabs outside Israel. Ms. Rosenthal does an excellent job elucidating issues that can change Arab thinking about Israel. I highly recommend this 2008 edition of The Israelis for anyone interested in Israel, and also for anyone interested in grasping a better understanding of Arab society and its relationship to Israelis. Layla Murad
Ewing More than 1 year ago
full of fascinating information, entertaining. Rosenthal interviewed an impressive cross-section of Israeli society, from all backgrounds and viewpoints. It's especially affecting to read the interviews with the young people, whether Jewish, Muslim, Druze or Christian, with their too-soon exposure to war's ugliness and their simultaneous brave hopes for the future. It's a far-ranging book, with too many interesting foci to list completely: The decline of the collective ethic on Israel's kibbutzes. The insular nature of the ultra-Orthodox communities, and the painfully high human cost of leaving. The presence of ordinary vice and corruption, and how terrorists use the drug trade as a weapon of war. Tours through the minority communities such as the Druze, the Bedouin, the Jews from Arab lands, and subcultures such as Russian prostitutes and gay Israelis.

Welcome inclusions are factual takedowns of widespread lies such as the Jenin "massacre". But polemics are not the meat of the book, the people are. It is very good to finally have some voices to put with the faces of this remarkable people. Let one of the interviewees have the last word:

"We're always in the headlines. "The New York Times. CNN.
The BBC. We get more coverage than India. Than China. Than the entire continent of Africa. There's so much news about us, you'd think we're also a billion people, not six million. We're all the time on TV and front pages, so people think they know us. Unsmiling soldiers. Screaming settlers. Crying mourners. Bearded guys in black hats. Well, Israelis are much more than those photos. We complain about our teachers. Worry about exams. Flirt at parties. Wonder if we look good in our bathing suits. We curse at traffic jams and cut in line at the movies. We've got normal fears and dreams. Like young people everywhere, we want to find love and be loved. We're just normal people trying to live in this abnormal, tiny, beautiful country."
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book -- lively, entertaining, packed with eye-opening information. My students -from a range of religious and political beliefs - love it. One can't understand modern Israelis without reading this book, which smashes stereotypes. You'll enter the lives of an array of religious and secular Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians. In Nazareth, you meet Christian women who publish an Arabic-Cosmo magazine young Muslim Israelis who speak better Hebrew than most American Jews. Israelis in this book range from kids who love MTV female soldiers techies whose heroes are Bill Gates Jewish and Muslim gays, a Bedouin woman who watches Oprah by satellite, and an Ethiopian Jew whose parents hate the white guy she's dating. From ultraOrthodox to secular Jews and Muslims from the devoutly traditional to the radically modern -- you'll really meet the Israelis you don't see on TV. You will meet these Israelis on beaches, battlefields, in boardrooms, brothels, classrooms and discos. Recommended for students, businesspeople, tourists, diplomats. Readers of all ages, religions and political outlooks will find this book very balanced. It brings you into the lives of ordinary Israelis. What a relief not hearing from babbling politicans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learn and read fiction at the same time in a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IvyLeague More than 1 year ago
I teach a course on the Middle East at an Ivy League university. After reading THE ISRAELIS: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land, I realized very few of us so called "experts" actually know much about the many types of people of today's Israel. Many of my colleagues including me really have little advanced knowledge about Israeis, even though we claim to be "knowledgeable." This fascinating, information-packed book opened up my eyes and head to an Israel that you rearly hear about in the media. THE ISRAELIS goes in depth describing modern Israelis of every religon, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and class. It also brings the readers into the varied lives of average Israeli Jews, Muslims, Chrisians and Druze, which is largely absent in the media or any book I've read. It's beautifully written, balanced and wonderfully researched. Several professors I know use it and I now understand why. I have decided to assign the 2008 paperback as required reading for the class I teach about the Middle East in the coming semester. Excellent for students of all backgrounds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
you cannot understand Israel without reading this amazing book. The most outstanding book on modern Israelis I have ever read. Wonderfully written, packed with fascinating information avaibale no where else. She interviews Israelis of all ages and religious backgrounds -- and well balanced.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I opened this book hoping to better understand Israel and her precarious situation in the Middle East and was not let down. Donna Rosenthal weaves personal accounts from Isreali citizens and historical facts to recreate for the reader the rich tapestry of modern Israeli society. The organization of this book (each chapter represents a particular segment of Israeli society) makes for an easy read. This book is a must have for all readers and I especially recommend it for anybody that wants to learn more about Israel but does not know where to begin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
as an israeli, i find the book very revealing of facts i had no clue about. i learned about the latest technologies in israel and how they impacted the the world. so many positive aspects! the book is written with so much love towards israel and is truly depicting the nature of this soceity. i read it with a smile of acknowledgement of the facts and i am pleased donna was able to show the real israelis- the way i know us. mixed with donna's unique sense of humor, the book is amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just visited Israel -- and this is the book that Israelis of all different political and religious backgrounds are reading. They say finally, this is the book that accurately captures their daily lives. The author goes from discos to Bedouin tents with satellite dishes to Intel's cafeteria to army bases and bedrooms. From mosques and synagogues to parties on the Sea of Galilee. The Israelis is fun and informative, the most important, insightful book about today's Israelis. I've given it as wedding, graduation and bar mitzvah gifts. Students and teachers, rock musicians and scientists, journalists and Christian and Jewish clergy will love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for anyone interested in learning about the people living in the Holy Land. It is so well written that you feel you are actually talking to the people profiled in the book! Christians will find this book very useful when going to Israel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent read that captures the reality of what Israel is really all about. This book tells about the life of your average Joe Israeli and talks about what is the truth behind the screaming headlines we see on the news every night. Too much attention today is focused around the Arab-Israeli conflict and the problems with the Palestinians, but little coverage is given to the problems facing Israelis at the local level: conflicts between religious and non-religious Jews, disparities in income due to religious and ethnic differences, conflicts within the family, problems of immigration and demographics, and much more. I've been to Israel in the past and I can definitely say from experience that this book is highly accurate. An excellent read for anyone interested in Middle Eastern society and culture.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all books on the Middle East, this is the one that gets to the heart of all its huge variety of cultures. Representatives of each group, in their own words, tell of their lives. This book can be read in any order, its chapters stand alone.It's a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am American and have visited Israel 15 times in the last 20 years. I read as much as I can about the country, and Rosenthal's book __The Israelis__ is the best source I've come across for the information I care about: the people. Rosenthal writes in an engaging and personal way. There are plenty of facts and figures in __The Israelis__, but the writing is never dry. She introduces us to real and very interesting people to emphasize her observations, and she conveys a deep and accurate familiarity with various segments of Israeli society. This book is a good antidote to the stereotyping of Israelis that we usually read in the media. Highly highly recommended!