I recently read the new book by Israeli journalist, Ari Shavit, entitled My Promised Land. Shavit tells the story of Israel from the time his grandfather came to Palestine from England. He gave up a comfortable life for one of the original Chalutzim, or pioneers, who came to Tel Aviv. Shavit then begins the tale of how Israel developed, going from a land made up of immigrants and natives, with little knowledge of agriculture, business, technology, to the progressive dynamic country it is today.
Along the way, Israel fought its battles – both internal and external. Shavit describes the conflicts within its own people on religion, on relations with its neighbors and on how to govern. The book leads you on an emotional roller coaster. As an American Jew, it was sometimes difficult dealing with the truth, as reported by Shavit. How secular Judaism grew. How Israel dealt with its Arab neighbors. How Holocaust survivors impacted modern Israel.
And what of its future. Israel more and more seems to stand alone in the world. What should America’s relationship be with Israel? Should Israel be doing anything differently on the world stage?
The book, tracing the country’s evolution over the last 150 years, is an amazingly stark, honest look at our Jewish homeland. Read it and decide for yourself.
by Andy Trevers