A debut work that dramatizes the state of Israel and the plight of the Palestinians.
Hanna’s complex, densely written novel puts a light layer of fiction over what’s essentially an extended history of the modern state of Israel and a condemnation of that country’s government. The book presents readers with characters such as Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist Michal Zeldin, who tries to stand against what he calls Israel’s “unethical use of archeology,” reiterating the novel’s frequent claims that Israel has no documented historical claim to any of the territory it occupies; and investigative journalist David Reisner, who’s looking into the titular Hiramic Brotherhood, a secret society within the ranks of Israel’s Masonic community. The Brotherhood seeks to illegally tunnel beneath East Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, in order to build a Third Temple on one of Islam’s holiest sites. Along the way, characters talk about the Illuminati and the Freemasons, and there are tantalizing feints at a thriller-style plot. As the novel goes on, Hanna also details the long, complicated history of the Zionist cause, especially its present form in the 20th century. He takes his readers through two world wars and many other national disruptions. But the book’s main emphasis is on facts, not fiction: Hanna is intent on laying out a case against Israel, against the powerful special interest lobby called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and against a media which is “serving the interests of the Anglo-Zionist Political Corporate Military Industrial Empire.” Indeed, the book’s final 100 pages comprise detailed accounts of the region from 2009 to 2013. As a result, the thriller elements likely won’t be the reason why readers keep turning pages. They’ll more likely be interested in the book’s dissection of Israeli policies, and what the author sees as a continuous annulment of Palestinian civil rights. Some of the book’s contempt for current politicians and world leaders can be off-puttingly raw (such as a reference to “Barack ‘Uncle Tom’ Obama”). However, the bulk of the book makes a readable argument.
A deeply political novel that tackles the long history of struggle in Israel.