A Couple of Great Reads for Israel Independence Day 2014

Israel Independence Day-Yom Haatzma’ut- falls on Monday evening, May 5, 2014. Israel celebrates its 66th birthday. As is customary, Israel observes on the day prior to Independence day, Yom Hazikaron, The Memorial Day for those who have fallen defending the State of Israel.


Admittedly this Independence day is tinged with anxiety as the Kerry peace initiative appears to have collapsed and the prospects for a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict appear as far off as ever. I would like to share with you a recent article by the Israeli writer, Ari Shavit, about a different approach to peace in the region to spark your reflection and discussion. The link is here: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117503/new-plan-middle-east-peace.


Shavit’s approach acknowledges the difficulties for reaching a peace agreement, spelling out the obstacles both on the Palestinian and Israeli side. It is a peace plan that preserves the idea of two states and recognizes the need of Israel to curb the settlement enterprise. It also takes into account the Palestinian paralysis on issues like the right of return. Shavit is a credible source since he has been a critic of both the right and the left of several decades. He has a strong ear for the Israel center and sympathy for Palestinian suffering.


I would also recommend strongly Shavit’s excellent new book: My Promised Land. This is the best book I have read in many years about Israel. It is balanced, exploring the dilemmas that face Israel in both its past and present. It also portrays Israel and its relations to the Palestinians in a truthful manner. It is clear of the whitewash that characterizes earlier literature about Israel’s relationship to the Palestinians, especially in his treatment of the fate of the Arabs of Lod during the 1948 War of Independence.


Let me know your thoughts about the article on my facebook page (Dov Gartenberg). If people are interested in a discussion write to me at alaskashabbathouse@outlook.com.


Dov Gartenberg


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