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1 Burnside Middle East- Arab Israeli Conflict

This title in other editions

Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide


Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

They met in 1990 during the first Palestinian uprisingone was an American Jew who served as a prison guard in the largest prison in Israel, the other, his prisoner, Rafiq, a rising leader in the PLO. Despite their fears and prejudices, they began a dialogue there that grew into a remarkable friendshipand now a remarkable book. It is a book that confronts head-on the issues dividing the Middle East, but one that also shines a ray of hope on that dark, embattled region.

Jeffrey Goldberg, now an award-winning correspondent for The New Yorker, moved to Israel while still a college student. When he arrived, there was already a war in his hearta war between the magnetic pull of tribe and the equally determined pull of the universalist ideal. He saw the conflict between the Jews and Arabs as the essence of tragedy, because tragedy is born not in the collision of right and wrong, but of right and right.

Soon, as a military policeman in the Israeli army, he was sent to the Ketziot military prison camp, a barbed-wire city of tents and machine gun towers buried deep in the Negev Desert. Ketziot held six thousand Arabs, the flower of the Intifada: its rock-throwers, knifemen, bomb-makers, and propagandists. He realized that this was an extraordinary opportunity to learn from them about themselves, especially because among the prisoners may have been the future leaders of Palestine.

Prisoners is an account of life in that harsh desert prisonmean, overcrowded, and violent and of Goldberg's extraordinary dialogue with Rafiq, which continues to this day.

We hear their accusations, explanations, fears, prejudices, and aspirations. We see how their relationship deepened over the years as Goldberg returned to Washington, D.C., where Rafiq, quite coincidentally, had become a graduate student, and as the Middle East cycled through periods of soaring hope and ceaseless despair. And we see again and again how these two menboth of them loyal sons of their warring peoplesconfront their religious, cultural, and political differences in ways that allowed them to finally acknowledge a true, if necessarily tenuous, friendship.

A riveting, deeply affecting book: spare, impassioned, energetic, and unstinting in its candor about the truths that lie buried within the animosities of the Middle East.


"A few years ago, when the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000 was still raging, I had occasion to chat with a group of young Christians who had come to Israel to help bring peace to the Holy Land. 'If we could just get Jews and Palestinians talking to each other, that would be a huge step forward,' one of them suggested hopefully.

Dialogue can indeed be a cause for hope, but... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

Jeffrey Goldberg is Washington correspondent for The New Yorker. He was for ten years a Middle East correspondent for The New Yorker and for The New York Times Magazine. A winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting, he is also a former columnist for The Jerusalem Post and The Forward. He lives with his family in Washington, D.C. This is his first book.

Product Details

A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide
Goldberg, Jeffrey
Jeffrey Goldberg
Ethnic relations
Palestinian arabs
Ethnic Cultures - General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.50x6.58x1.33 in. 1.47 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Middle East » Arab Israeli Conflict

Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide Used Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375412349 Reviews:
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