THEIR PROMISED LAND: Arab and Jew in History's Cauldron--One Valley in the Jerusalem by Marcia & Joseph Albright Kunstel

THEIR PROMISED LAND: Arab and Jew in History's Cauldron--One Valley in the Jerusalem

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Jerusalem Hills Here, two foreign correspondents (for Cox Newspapers) set out to tell the ""true story"" of the Mideast by tracing that region's history, in large part through the story of two families, one Arab and one Jewish, both from the fertile ""valley outside Jerusalem where Samson was born."" The valley is the Sorek Valley, which as far back as biblical times was a bone of contention between Arabs and Jews. In 1100 B.C., Samson killed thousands of (Arab) Philistines until Delilah betrayed him. But even before that, the authors explain, Abraham gave birth to two sets of descendants, one through a Jewish wife, the other by an Egyptian wife. These descendants, Jews and Arabs, sometimes coexisted in the valley, and sometimes warred--until the establishment of Israel in 1948. Then, families like those of Mahmoud Hamdan were forcibly removed from their Arab villages to make way for Jewish kibbutzim. To maintain Israel, men like Yoshko Levy took up military careers. Both the Hamdan and the Levy families eventually become political moderates, however, with the Hamdan progeny taught to cultivate their new land, and the Levy children encouraged not to fight but to study abroad in America. To the authors, it is symbolic that Mahmoud Hamdan then ""did something that Palestinian families do only at a place they consider home. He planted trees in the small dirty yard: a fig and a pomengranate and an olive. For now, this plot was enough of a promised land."" A well-written and sweeping portrait of a troubled land.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Crown