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A Jewish Secretary of Defense faces a hostage crisis in which US and Israeli priorities are at odds--a contrived, mostly farfetched scenario from Israeli diplomat Golan (The Secret Conversations of Henry Kissinger). The Secretary is Martin Silver, nÉ Mordechai Silverstone, who fled to the US from the Warsaw pogroms in 1938. . . while his childhood chum Moshe Lieberman went to Palestine, eventually becoming Chief of Israel's Mossad (Intelligence Service). Lieberman's son, however, has been mutilated and slaughtered by Maruan Awad, Chief of the Holy Front for PLO terrorism--and Lieberman at last catches up with Awad in Rome, capturing him. It's then that the conflicts of loyalties begin, because an Arab-Israeli trio of bipartisan terrorists called the ""Ishmaelites""--including an Israeli beauty who's crazy in love with Awad--hijacks a boatload of Americans on Lake Geneva (where a big Mideast peace talk is going on). They mine the boat and demand the release of Awad by Israel. . . or else it's curtains for the Americans. So what will Sec. of State Silver do when US President Kelly (up for re-election) orders him to lay down the law to Israel and compel them to release Awad? This moral dilemma is hardly as dramatic here as Golan seems to believe it is; and, in any case, the inner crisis is soon enough made academic by some straightforward derring-do action: Lieberman (who has denied having Awad in custody all along) devises an Entebbe-like rescue for the hostages. An awfully crude and artificial approach to the US/Israel question, but serviceable enough suspense, spiced with Arab-Israeli sex.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1980
Publisher: A & W