Synopses & Reviews
Theirs was an unlikely but inspiring friendship. One was born of humble origins in Jerusalem, the other of royal lineage in Mecca. One was a craftsman, the other a king. One was Jewish, the other a devout Muslim. One was born imbued with the ideals of Zionism, the other embodied the rising hopes of Arab nationalism. Yet Mendel Cohen and King Abdullah ibn Hussein of Jordan found common ground in a part of the world where life is so often sacrificed for land. In 1937 Cohen was working as a carpenter in Jerusalem when his skill and reputation for honesty came to the attention of Abdullah, who invited him to cross the Jordan River and work at his palace in Amman. Based on Cohen's memoirs of his years at the Jordanian royal court, A Bridge Across the Jordan is a fascinating account of a region on the brink of dramatic change. It is also an unforgettable portrait of King Abdullah, grandfather and predecessor of King Hussein, and a complex man of enormous wisdom and charm. To Cohen and many others, Abdullah represented the greatest hope for peaceful coexistence between Israel and Jordan - despite the fact that he fought for the Arab cause in the 1948 war. Abdullah's willingness to negotiate sometimes made him a lonely figure in a world where compromise is deemed worse than death. His assassination in 1951 at the hands of an extremist seemed to sound the death knell for peace. Yet in the end peace has prevailed. In 1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty. And in 1995 King Hussein invited authors Adaia and Abraham Shumsky, Mendel Cohen's daughter and her husband, to the royal palace in Amman so that they might retrace Cohen's and Abdullah's footsteps. What the Shumskys found was that thefriendship between their father and King Hussein's grandfather had established a pattern for peace, and that a bridge across the Jordan still stood.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -277).