Synopses & Reviews
A Zionist among Palestinians offers the perspective of an ordinary Israeli citizen who became concerned about the Israeli military's treatment of Palestinians and was moved to work for peace. Hillel Bardin, a confirmed Zionist, was a reservist in the Israeli army during the first intifada when he met Palestinians arrested by his unit. He learned that they supported peace with Israel and the then-taboo proposal for a two-state solution, and that they understood the intifada as a struggle to achieve these goals. Bardin began to organize dialogues between Arabs and Israelis in West Bank villages, towns, and refugee camps. In 1988, he was jailed for meeting with Palestinians while on active duty in Ramallah. Over the next two decades, he participated in a variety of peace organizations and actions, from arranging for Israelis to visit Palestinian communities and homes, to the joint jogging group "Runners for Peace," to marches, political organizing, and demonstrations supporting peace, security, and freedom. In this very personal account, Bardin tries to come to grips with the conflict in a way that takes account of both Israeli-Zionist and Palestinian aims.
"Bardin, a founder of the Shalom Yerushalayim Party, offers stories of his experiences working to create a dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis from before the first intifada through the second. His tales span the spectrum of the Palestinians living both in the Israeli state and under occupation in the West Bank. From the denial of education to Palestinians to the refusal of building permits and systematic land theft, this self-proclaimed leftist Zionist explains the oppression that the Israeli state inflicts on its Palestinian residents and citizens. Bardin candidly discusses pervasive racist Israeli behavior, jokes, and sentiments, and details his own journey working with Palestinians, beginning with his surprise at learning that both Palestinians and Israelis want peace, despite his preconceived notions. His surprise at Palestinian willingness to cooperate is effective at showing the transformation of his views, but quickly becomes repetitive. Despite this, he repeats the now tired Israeli rhetoric of being unable to find a partner for peace among the Palestinian population, which is disproved by his heartwarming stories of successful collaboration." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Few accounts of the struggle between two peoples, covetous of the same ancestral homeland, are as enlightening and moving." --Howard M. Sachar, author of A History of Israel Indiana University Press
"Will have special resonance for many Jews, Muslims, Arabs, and others, both inside and outside the Middle East, who have been exposed to efforts at dialogue, discussion, and rapprochement between everyday people, but whose efforts and voices are lost in the din of ongoing violence, brainwashing of fear and hatred, and media-loving political grandstanding. [Bardin] provides a rare first-hand account of dialogue and joint-action efforts on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians [and] brings to light unknown grassroots episodes that illustrate both the hopeful potential for coexistence and the huge obstacles that continue to plague these well-intentioned efforts." --Neil Caplan, author (with Laura Zittrain Eisenberg) of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace Indiana University Press
"[A]s a panoramic view of... peace efforts by citizens on the ground during this turbulent period, Bardin's book allows the reader some wonderful insights." --National Catholic Reporter
"A Zionist Among Palestinians is a testimony to the effort to bring about change, to educate Palestinians and Israelis about one another, and to touch them one at a time." --Jewish Book Council Indiana University Press
"A compelling, thoughtful, and honest examination of a complex situation from a powerfully conscientious peace activist." --ForeWord Reviews
About the Author
Born in Mandatory Palestine, Hillel Bardin is a founder and former board member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Rapprochement Dialogue Center, and the Jerusalem Information Center, and he has served on the board of Defense for Children International. A founder of the Shlom Yerushalayim Party, he was its authorized representative in the Jerusalem Municipal Council.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Mubarak Awad and Edward (Edy) Kaufman
1. Jericho I: Introduction to the Intifada
2. Jericho II: The Dialogues
3. Jericho III: The Black Scorpion
4. Sur Bahir: The Forest
5. Obeidiyah: Water in the Desert
6. Beit Sahour I: Intense, Long-lasting Dialogue
7. Ramallah I: A Soldier's Attempt to Promote Nonviolence
8. Ramallah II and Prison
9. Beit Sahour II: From Dialogue to Action
10. Beit Sahour III: The Sleep-Over and the Prayer for Peace
11. Beit Sahour IV: Out from the Underground
12. Jabel Mukabber
13. "Runners for Peace"
14. Dehaisheh and the Settlers
15. Bethlehem, Wadi Fukin, Nahalin, and Husan
16. Nablus (Shechem) I: A Military Alliance
17. Nablus (Shechem) II: Helping to Advance the Peace Process
18. Jerusalem Municipal Elections and Meeting Arafat in Tunis
19. Jericho IV: The Tourist Board
20. Jerusalem Information Center
21. Ibrahim and Isma'il
22. Olive Trees and the Wall
23. From Dialogue to Strategic Community Activation
Conclusion: Is There Hope?