The pioneering autobiographical story of a British Zionist in her fifties who moves to Israel and chooses to live among 25,000 Muslims in the all-Arab Israeli town of Tamra, a few miles from Nazareth.
Susan Nathan’s revelatory book about her new life across the ethnic divide in Israel is already creating international interest. At a time when Middle Eastern politics (in many ways central to the current world disorder) have become mired in endless tit-for-tat killings, Susan Nathan is showing – by her own daily example – that it is perfectly possible for Jews and Arabs to live peacefully together in a single community, recognising their common humanity.
The author’s familiarity with the former injustices of apartheid South Africa enables her to draw telling comparisons with the state of Israel. The increasing segregation of, and discrimintation against, the million-strong Arabic population of Israel is something she witnesses at first hand, but in describing her experiences in Tamra she is as observant of Arab frailties as of Jewish oppression.
Written with warmth, compassion and humour, ‘The Other Side of Israel’ is one courageous woman’s positive life-enhancing response to a situation in which entrenched attitudes lead only to more violence and bloodshed.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
In 2003, Susan Nathan moved from her comfortable home in Tel Aviv to Tamra, an Arab town in the northern part of Israel. Nathan had arrived in Israel four years earlier and had taught English and worked with various progressive social organizations. Her desire to help build a just and humane society in Israel took an unexpected turn, however, when she became aware of Israel's neglected and often oppressed indigenous Arab population. Despite warnings from friends about the dangers she would encounter, Nathan settled in an apartment in Tamra, the only Jew among 25,000 Muslims. There she discovered a division between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs as tangible as the concrete wall and razor-wire fences that surround the Palestinian towns of the West Bank and Gaza.
From her unique vantage point, Nathan examines the history and the present-day political and cultural currents that have created a situation little recognized in the ongoing debates about the future of Israel and the Middle East. With warmth, humor, and compassion, she portrays the daily life of her neighbors, the challenges they encounter, and the hopes they harbor. She introduces Arab leaders fighting against entrenched segregation and discrimination; uncovers the hidden biases that undermine even the most well-intentioned Arab-Jewish peace organizations; and describes the efforts of dedicated individuals who insist that Israeli Arabs must be granted the same rights and privileges as Jewish citizens.
Through her own courageous example, Nathan proves that it is possible for Jews and Arabs to live and work peacefully together. "The Other Side of Israel is more than the story of one woman's journey; it is a road map forcrossing a divide created by prejudices and misunderstandings.
Susan Nathan was born in England and brought up for the most part in apartheid-era South Africa, where she strongly opposed the system. An AIDS counsellor in London, she decided in her fifties – recently divorced and with grown-up children – to take up the Jewish right of return and move to Israel. This is her first book.
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