SHALOM, FRIEND by Jerusalem Report Staff

SHALOM, FRIEND

The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An absorbing portrait of the remarkable life of the late Israeli Prime Minister. David Horovitz, managing editor of The Jerusalem Report, deftly assembled the research of over two dozen of the Report's writers to produce a biography of Rabin that focuses on the recent peace process and the circumstances that led to his assassination. Earlier events in Rabin's life are covered in full--his early years in the Palmach, his military accomplishments in both the War of Independence and the Six Day War, and his stint as Israel's ambassador to the US--but this book's strength lies in its gripping analysis of Rabin's relationship with both the Palestinians and with Israeli settlers in the contested territory of the West Bank. Until the outbreak of the Intifada, Rabin paid almost no attention to the Palestinians. He knew little about them and had no interest in knowing more. His solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict leaned to the ``Jordanian Option,'' with its provision for continued Israeli settlement along the Jordan Valley. When the Intifada did break out in 1987, Rabin, misreading the Palestinians, dismissed it as insignificant. Yet it was precisely the Intifada that caused Rabin to realize that the Palestinians were an enemy with whom he would have to negotiate. The Intifada ``had turned the Palestinian people into a proper enemy. And, as such, they earned the right in Rabin's eyes to a proper peace.'' And if Rabin lacked insight into the Palestinians, he had even less into the West Bank settlers. He perceived most of them as obstacles to peace, and ``was positively infuriated by the vigilante elements among them.'' And as a secular Jew, Rabin had ``few sentiments for the area's past.'' It may well have been, in fact, the chasm between the secular Rabin and the religious nationalists that set the scene for his tragic death. Well-researched, engrossing, and admirably objective, Shalom, Friend is a significant contribution.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-55704-287-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Newmarket Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1996