Days of Honey, Days of Onion: The Story of a Palestinian Family in Isræl

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9780520081864: Days of Honey, Days of Onion: The Story of a Palestinian Family in Isræl
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This study of Israel's Palestinian Arabs is based upon the author's observation of the family of Abu Ahmad, a Palestinian clan living in a village in central Israel. The activities and religious rituals of the family are related, along with the feelings of tension in the wake of the intifada.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Steering clear of propaganda, Gorkin (Border Kibbutz, 1971), an American psychologist living in Jerusalem, presents a refreshingly balanced portrait of a Palestinian family in Israel. Feeling ill-equipped to serve his Arab patients at Hebrew Univ., the author spent two years in unusually close contact with a fellaheen (peasant farmer) family--working with them, sharing their celebrations and sorrows, and preserving their testimony in simple, nonjudgmental tones. Like the other 700,000 Palestinians in Israel, the family of Abu Ahmad must deal daily with the paradox of being Israeli citizens yet detached, legally and socially, from the larger workings of the country. Viewed as Arabs by Israelis and as Israelis by other Arabs, ``we have reason to be afraid,'' remarks one. Although Gorkin provides helpful commentary on the confusing revolutions of Middle Eastern politics, he is strongest when allowing his subjects to speak in their own words. These are fully rounded, independent characters who dream of a Palestinian state but dislike militant fundamentalists; who form business relationships with Jewish Israelis yet sympathize with the Intifada. Most startlingly, they manage to combine old and new in odd, apparently peaceful juxtaposition: live sheep purchased for slaughter to mark the end of Ramadan are stuffed into the trunk of a Mercedes; a 70-year-old patriarch relaxes in the traditional diwan (men's sitting room) as his children watch R-rated American videotapes in the next room; free to pursue higher education and their own careers (publisher, social worker, teacher, farmer), children (both male and female) avoid physical relations with suitors and consent to traditional marriage arrangements. Widening the picture are other village voices--a Communist teacher, a Muslim-Jewish couple, Intifada activists. Ordinary people made heroic by their insistence on surviving despite extraordinary challenges, they are complex, multifaceted, and real. A subtly persuasive work, proving that straightforward, unbiased reporting can be far more powerful than monolithic pronouncements. Excellent and unusual. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Clinical psychologist Gorkin presents an intimate, revealing, unbiased probe into the hearts and minds of a Palestinian Arab family. Gregarious retired farmer Abu Ahmad and his tireless, nimble wife Umm Ahmad, who have nine grown children and 26 grandchildren, live in an Arab village in the center of Israel. One son, Ahmad, is a book publisher; another, Hassan, is the family farmer; Maysa, a daughter, is a social worker specializing in incest cases; Hassan's brother-in-law Toufiq was tortured by Israelis and spent three years in jail for his involvement with the PLO. Through oral testimonies, readers learn how life under the Israeli military government (1949-66), which confiscated enormous tracts of land from native Arabs, left an indelible mark on the family, and how the intifada triggered smoldering anger among family members. Gorkin, an American Jew who emigrated to Israel in 1982 and teaches at Hebrew University, has produced a valuable and engaging report.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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