The Six-Day War, told from the point of view of an Israeli seventh-grader in 1967.
Motti lives in Jerusalem in a country that’s only 19 years old—just like his older brother, born on Israel’s first day of independence. Pale-eyed, freckled Motti identifies as one of the “native Israeli Sabras,” born in Jerusalem like his father, though his mother’s Yiddish-inflected Hebrew implies an Eastern European origin. His Jerusalem neighborhood is populated by Jews from Hungary, Germany, Iraq, and Iran. The neighborhood even features Ethiopian monks. Indeed, all that’s lacking is Muslims, as 19 years ago the Jews and Muslims of Jerusalem fled to the sectors defined by their new national border. As the governments of Israel and her neighbors jockey for position, Motti’s father and older brother are called up for active duty. Soon war begins, and Motti huddles in air raid shelters; it’s a claustrophobic week for an energetic boy, even given that it’s one of the world’s shortest wars. All the anger against Israel in Motti’s world emanates from disembodied armies and governments; the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem welcome the conquering Israelis like friendly neighbors: “smiling shyly” and waving; the Palestinian childhood friend of Motti’s father even serves mint tea and cookies. Occasionally, narrator Motti’s voice slips entirely into a textbook-style description of the war.
A straightforward vehicle for a single viewpoint of recent history; supplement with other perspectives for a more complete story. (Historical fiction. 11-13)