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The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Sep 6 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese (Sept. 6 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385514565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385514569
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #528,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 33 reviews
63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
A walk on the other side of the railroad tracks. Sept. 22 2005
By OddsyGirl - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is an incredible look at how non Jews live inside Israel. Even though they are full citizens of Israel, the non Jewish population is treated as second class citizens. Without a constitution, there are no guaranteed civil rights for all citizens.

The author grew up with the story of how Israel was a land without people for a people without land, but after becoming a citizen of Israel through the Law of Return, she has seen how the Zionist movement created their own facts and stories about the creation of Israel. The author decides to move into an Arab village in Northern Israel. The Arab- Israelis believe that she could be a spy and the Jewish-Israelis believe that she has become the enemy.

The most enlightened part of this book is how the author describes the left side of politics within Israel. The lack of freedom of interaction between Jewish-Israelis and Arab-Israelis, even within organizations that were created to foster open interactions, where the Arab-Israelis do not feel that they can truly let their experiences be known because the Jewish-Israelis will not stay and listen and the ever present threat of reprisals. While there are many political movements and human rights groups within Israel, the majority stop just shy of actually doing anything that would make a difference in the treatment and/or status of non-Jewish Israelis.

This book should be read by anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of Israel. This book is about the forgotten Palestinians, the ones who stayed during the wars in 1948 and in 1967.
45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
In depth, and realistic March 15 2006
By B. Martin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Susan Nathan does a great job at simply reaching out to the Palestinian population of Israel and lending an ear. Most of the book is not actually her story, but the retelling of the surreal stories of her palestinian neighbors. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the conflict on a sociological level. The Palestinians have a lot to say, and it's about time they were voiced.

In response to the reviewer who gave this book one star, I think you're completely missing the point of what she's trying to say about suicide bombers. Ethics aside, people don't blow themselves up unless it's the best option they've got. If the Palestinians were happy with the way they were treated inside Israel, then I doubt suicide bombing would be a problem at all. What Nathan is saying is that non-arabs look at suicide bombings as the act of crazies, without understanding what drives someone to do such a thing. The Jews in Israel have put the palenstinians on a subordinate level, and so they can easily shrug such violence off as the normal actions of the palestinians. But what would it take for you to strap a bomb to your chest and blow yourself up? How bad would your life have to be for that to be the best option? Palenstinians see suicide bombings as the great equalizer, in the same way that minorities in the Inner-cities in the US choose guns and gangs. Because the Palestinians are constantly being screwed by the system, they feel helpless, and they become irrational. Just notice how suicide bombings get the attention and strike fear in the hearts of Jews. That's what they want, to deliver unto the Jews the same pain that they've been feeling at the hands of the Jews for too long.

The answer isn't to call them crazy, or to accept suicide bombings as normal. The answer is to find out why they feel suicide bombing is an effective solution to their problem, and then fix that problem so there is no need for it. That's what Nathan is trying to say, to look at the bigger picture, because it's all relative. Her last sentences speak to exactly that; we're all the same people, and we all have a sense of rationality, and nobody wants to die. Let's find a way to live in Peace, and then the "crazy" suicide bombers will be out of the job. This isn't a case of one race against another, it's a case of subordinates wanting equality, and the dominants not wanting to give up their power.
39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book about the plight of Palestinians March 6 2006
By Wael Qahoush - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book that provides a dramatic and an inside look into the plight of Palestinians. For all the anti-Palestinians out there, this book cannot possibly be considered anti-semitic because it was written by a Jewish immigrant who had her eyes opened to the cruelty of the Israeli occupation.

A must read for anyone who still has any doubt that Palestinians suffer for no reason other than the fact that the racist Zionist regime believes that Palestinians are sub-human and should be pressured through force and inhumane treatment out of their home land.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Other Side of Israel Dec 28 2005
By S. Morton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book by Susan Nathan, a Jewess who lives amongst Palestinians in Tamrah in northern Galilee, is a must read for any person interested in the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. And a divide there certainly is, but one that could so easily be straddled if there were more people such as Ms Nathan in this world.

Whilst there may be many who might disagree with her, Ms Nathan's grasp of the Israeli socio-political nettle is honest, courageous,hard-hitting and thought-provoking. A person cannot read this book without being unmoved by the tragedy of the Palestinian-Israeli divide whether Jewish, Muslim,Christian or any faith.

The fact that Ms Nathan is a voice from within the divide is highly significant. From her birthplace in Britain, to the sunny shores of South Africa and to the beautiful hills of Galilee, The "Other Side of Israel" is undoubtedly a seminal work of personal conscience.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
an invaluable and moving book Dec 28 2005
By Raymond Deane - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In recent years I have read so many books on the so-called "Israel-Palestine conflict" that such reading has become a form of drudgery, occasionally illuminated by a few bright spots. Susan Nathan's book is one of the bright spots. It stands out from the textual landscape by virtue of its sincerity, its passion, its impatience with the dogmas of either side, and the vividness of its narrative and its descriptions.

Ms Nathan is Jewish and was brought up to believe in the infallibility of the Zionist narrative. However, her background also included links to the South African anti-apartheid struggle. Once she had belatedly emigrated to Israel, the former influence rapidly gave way to the latter as she witnessed the realities of Zionism on the ground, the inequalities and cruelties that were and are an inevitable corollary of the attempt to construct a colonial ethnic state on another people's territory.

Obviously those who hold to Zionist ideology will see things differently, and for them this book will constitute an act of treason. But for those who believe in equality, justice and human rights, it would have been treason for Ms Nathan to write any other kind of book.

"The Other Side of Israel" is wholly engrossing, wholly powerful. I recommend it wholeheartedly.