COAT OF MANY COLORS: Israel by George Mikes


Email this review


This is Mr. Mikes' second journalistic sortie to Israel (his first in 1949 netted Milk and Honey). Now with gentle humor and an even gentler irony, he notes changes, constancies and of course the peculiar tensions of the present military-political situation. Nothing that Mr. Mikes observes will be particularly new to most but he is an amusing writer, taking happy pot shots at manners (no improvement); Israeli sense of humor (""more reminiscent of. . . Ghana, Zambia or Upper Volta""); American tourists; etc., etc. However, like his more serious-minded brethren, Mr. Mikes discusses the Arab ""situation"" at length, visiting the hostile, wretched inhabitants of the Gaza strip, an Arab mayor or two and the more agreeable Arab citizens of Jerusalem. He sees no easy solutions to the stalemate if any at all. There are unabashed generalities (the contrast between Arab and Jewish character for example) but Mr. Mikes' peregrinations, although dotted with anecdotes and pleasantries, do have the value of an enlightened, concerned, highly personal view, as in the remark he highlights on the question of the superiority of Judaism above other religions: ""We have been the chosen people long enough. God should now choose another one.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1969
Publisher: Gambit