Confession from a Jericho Jail: What Happened When I Refused to Fight the Palestinians

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9780802114822: Confession from a Jericho Jail: What Happened When I Refused to Fight the Palestinians

In his prison diary, an Israeli man incarcerated for refusing to combat the intifada or serve as a soldier in the West Bank describes the Palestinians' plight, touching upon the suffering on both sides of the conflict.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

An American briefly imprisoned in his adopted Israel--for refusing to serve in the army on the West Bank--ponders the moral and practical implications of Israel's increasingly violent occupation of the territories. In these notes, made between dishwashing and other duties in a jail where Arabs are kept in a cell without water, Langfur explores and explains his deeply felt decision to resist. The army was once like a sacred calling to him; but Israel's occupation intervened--an occupation, he says, by ``a supposedly democratic people with a strong ethical tradition, sitting on top of another.'' To Langfur, it's not the decades-long Palestinian submission that's normal, but the Intifada--the Palestinians' attempt ``to shake us off.'' The author warns his fellow prisoners that unless Israel settles the Palestinian issue, technology acquired by the Arab states will. ``Forty years of inattention to the Palestinians has made the Arabs hate us all the more....In killing their children we condemn our grandchildren.'' Into his narrative of prison life flow Langfur's wide-ranging and thorough meditations on biblical passages, orthodox rituals, philosophical questions (Langfur has a doctorate in Religion and Culture from Syracuse Univ.), and the very geography (he now works as a tour guide) that ignites the strife. Typically, Langfur remembers standing ``on the ruin of the temple'' in ``biblical Shechem'' (in Nablus and now too dangerous to visit), imagining ``the tribes on the slopes of the mountains, as ordained in Deuteronomy (27:11- 17)....`Cursed, the man...who moves his neighbor's boundary.' '' An intense and persuasive call for Israelis to confront their consciences--and for others to consider some of the spiritual questions imbedded in the politics. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Langfur, an American trained as a philosopher, emigrated to Israel to build a life and a family. After ten years, he found himself in a military prison for refusing to serve in the occupied territories. During his 21-day sentence, he washed dishes, chatted with fellow prisoners, and pondered the history and future of his adopted country. His prison diary, expanded into this book, shifts between a daily record of the tedium and distractions of prison routine and a philosophical analysis of resistance and duty. He explores the essence of Judaism and its biblical roots, sometimes for himself and sometimes for his less educated and more pragmatic prison mates. The book has many interesting and thoughtful passages but lacks the focus and momentum that would bring the monolog to life. It will appeal to readers with a concern for Israeli survival and the rights of Palestinians, but only if they have patience for its slow pace. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/92.
- Elizabeth R. Hayford, Associated Colls. of the Midwest, Chicago
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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