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The War Withinby Yuval Elizur
Synopses & Reviews
In recent years there has been a war raging within Israel — but not the interminable conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, as one might assume. For many Israelis, it is the internecine conflict with the ultra-orthodox Haredim that impacts their lives the most. The majority of Haredim — raised with an intense focus on religion at the expense of all else — are unemployable in a modern economy. Many choose to pursue religious studies, which the government subsidizes up to the age of 40.
The first book on a conflict that is fast crystallizing into a national debate, The War Within is a lively and trenchant exploration of a battle between church and state as it plays out before our eyes in Israel today. As acclaimed journalists Yuval Elizur and Lawrence Malkin expose, the situation today has reached a critical point that threatens the state of Israel from within and must certainly affect its future.
"A mysterious late night phone call to Israeli journalist Elizur sets the stage for this investigative piece, co-authored with fellow journalist Malkin and originally published in Hebrew in 2009, in which the pair examine the growing internal divide Israel faces from their own Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) population. Several key issues lurk beneath this rift between the haredim and other Jews: a lack of military support by the haredim, who are generally exempt from conscription; single track education that focuses exclusively on Talmudic studies and does not prepare men to work outside the yeshiva; financial subsidies from right-wing parties to support their large families because the men do not work; and unequal rights of women. The authors do present some quotidian challenges facing 'the haredim, who isolate themselves from the wider world while trying to impose their values on it': smartphones and the Internet are at once considered both tools of commerce and dangerous elements of modern times, offering access to a world outside narrow rabbinical authority and censorship. Though one criticism of the book is that several exposed moments of internal haredi criticism occur under a veil of secrecy, the greater social and political issues remain salient and troubling. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
A former correspondent of the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, Yuval Elizur is a distinguished Israeli journalist and the fifth generation of his family to have been born in Jerusalem.
Lawrence Malkin is an award-winning correspondent who served in London, Paris, Washington, New Delhi, Madrid, the United Nations, New York City and elsewhere for Time magazine, the International Herald Tribune, and The Associated Press. He lives in New York City.
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History and Social Science » Middle East » General History