SLEEPING ON A WIRE by David Grossman

SLEEPING ON A WIRE

Conversations with Palestinians in Israel
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Powerful and persuasive reporting by the author of The Yellow Wind (1988). There, Grossman, a journalist with Israeli radio and TV, offered an extraordinarily insightful analysis of the ambitions and frustrations of Arabs living on Israel's West Bank. Here, in a work of great sensitivity and clarity, he covers the political, economic, and social situations facing Arabs living in Israel proper, revealing in human terms the complex issues that divide and, ironically, also bind Israel's Jewish majority and Arab minority. Interviewing a broad spectrum of Jews and Arabs--activists and academics, patriarchs and professionals--Grossman, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem, focuses on the many inequities that exist within Israeli society. He exposes, for example, the plight of the so-called ``present absentees,'' Palestinians whose lands were confiscated by the Jewish authorities in 1948 but who were not relocated. Today, these people exist in a kind of bureaucratic limbo without services and with few civil rights. In several instances, Grossman records the conversations of Jews and Arabs confronting one another with occasional heat and frequent humor but with surprisingly little bitterness. These transcripts are among the most effective pages here, with Chaim Watzman's translation capturing the distinct voices with immediacy and force. Among the topics discussed are Arab demands for personal autonomy within the Jewish state, and the ambiguities that exist within the varying Israeli definitions--political, ethnic, religious--of ``Jewishness.'' While Grossman's sympathies clearly lie with the Arab minority, he balances his reportage with analyses of the psychological and policy shortcomings of Arab leaders and their adherents. An important and convincing human document, essential reading for those concerned with establishing a just and workable solution to a decades-old conflict.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-374-17788-0
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992




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