A succinct, polemical debate urging the neutralization of the power of this religious minority for the good of Israeli...

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THE WAR WITHIN

ISRAEL'S ULTRA-ORTHODOX THREAT TO DEMOCRACY AND THE NATION

Two engaged journalists offer an anxious look at how the “ultras” gained their troubling political supremacy over a secular state.

Veteran journalists Elizur and Malkin take on the ultra-Orthodox with knuckles bared. Despite the founding of Israel as a “state for Jews” and not a “Jewish state,” David Ben-Gurion made a fateful compromise with the ultra-Orthodox party in order to gain support for statehood—with ramifications that are still felt today. The ultra-Orthodox Haredim create in their close-knit communities a deeply religious, segregated lifestyle: little exposure to the outside world, employment or schools and exemption from the requisite three-year military service—in short, an ideological fringe made up of 10 percent of the population that nonetheless holds obstructionist political power because of the clout, and subsidies, it has maintained traditionally by siding with the conservative Likud party. Indeed, in that founding compromise with Ben-Gurion, the ultra-Orthodox were awarded for their compliance the regulation of certain important aspects of daily life, namely Sabbath observance, dietary laws, marriage, divorce and education. And because Israel still hasn’t managed to hammer out a constitution (including basic equal rights for women), the ultras still hold a lock on deciding who is a Jew, how people can marry and what is closed on the Sabbath. By rejecting secular influences, even the teaching of English and mathematics in their religious schools, the Haredim leaders keep control over their flock, the authors maintain, while impeding national progress and possibilities for peace and reconciliation in the country as a whole.

A succinct, polemical debate urging the neutralization of the power of this religious minority for the good of Israeli society.

Pub Date: March 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1468303452

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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