CONFESSION FROM A JERICHO JAIL by Stephen Langfur

CONFESSION FROM A JERICHO JAIL

What Happened When I Refused to Fight the Palestinians
Age Range: 11 - 17
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An American briefly imprisoned in his adopted Israel--for refusing to serve in the army on the West Bank--ponders the moral and practical implications of Israel's increasingly violent occupation of the territories. In these notes, made between dishwashing and other duties in a jail where Arabs are kept in a cell without water, Langfur explores and explains his deeply felt decision to resist. The army was once like a sacred calling to him; but Israel's occupation intervened--an occupation, he says, by ``a supposedly democratic people with a strong ethical tradition, sitting on top of another.'' To Langfur, it's not the decades-long Palestinian submission that's normal, but the Intifada--the Palestinians' attempt ``to shake us off.'' The author warns his fellow prisoners that unless Israel settles the Palestinian issue, technology acquired by the Arab states will. ``Forty years of inattention to the Palestinians has made the Arabs hate us all the more....In killing their children we condemn our grandchildren.'' Into his narrative of prison life flow Langfur's wide-ranging and thorough meditations on biblical passages, orthodox rituals, philosophical questions (Langfur has a doctorate in Religion and Culture from Syracuse Univ.), and the very geography (he now works as a tour guide) that ignites the strife. Typically, Langfur remembers standing ``on the ruin of the temple'' in ``biblical Shechem'' (in Nablus and now too dangerous to visit), imagining ``the tribes on the slopes of the mountains, as ordained in Deuteronomy (27:11- 17)....`Cursed, the man...who moves his neighbor's boundary.' '' An intense and persuasive call for Israelis to confront their consciences--and for others to consider some of the spiritual questions imbedded in the politics.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8021-1482-2
Page count: 267pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionCRIMINAL THAT I AM by Jennifer Ridha
by Jennifer Ridha