ZEALOTS FOR ZION by Robert I. Friedman


Inside Israel's West Bank Settlement Movement
Email this review


 An unsympathetic exploration of Israel's expansionist movements, by Village Voice staff-writer Friedman (The False Prophet, 1990). The author builds his case against the West Bank settlement policy of the recently defeated Likud government and its supporters through the words, pro and con, he recorded in interviews with settlers, government officials, Peace Now land-for-peace proponents, Arab villagers, and US Zionists. Friedman offers a picture of unjust Jewish expropriation of Arab lands, and of terrorism carried out by Jewish fanatics, while Arab actions such as the Intifada are seen as natural reactions to Jewish aggression. His chief villain is the Kach party of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, which pushes for a nation that's free of Arabs and that includes all of biblical Israel within its borders. Another villain is Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who is associated with Makhteret, which Friedman describes as a terrorist group responsible for attacks on Arab mayors supporting the PLO and for planning the demolition of the Dome of the Rock mosque, Islam's third holiest site. Also drawing Friedman's fire is the Ateret Cohanim, an ultrareligious group that aspires to turn all of Jerusalem into a Jewish city. And, of course, there is the Gush Emunim, which insists on the right of Jews to settle anywhere in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the Occupied Territories). If there is one group of West Bank settlers with whom Friedman sympathizes, it's the educated ÇmigrÇs from the US who have come to Israel with the aim of adding meaning to their lives while at the same time strengthening Israel's borders: ``It is difficult,'' Friedman says of them, ``to write about people whose politics one abhors yet who in other respects are fundamentally decent.'' Friedman's sympathies and hopes clearly lie with the aims associated with the Peace Now movement. But considering the depth of feeling on all sides exposed by his research, one wonders how peace will ever reign in Israel.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1992
ISBN: 0-394-58053-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992


IndieOranit: Crossed Lines by Michael Benjamin
by Michael Benjamin