Monday, December 26, 2011

Out Of Palestine: The Making of Modern Israel-Hadara Lazar

Out Of Palestine: The Making of Modern Israel

Hadara Lazar

Atlas, Dec 29 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9781935633280

In 1923 the League of Nations placed Palestine, no longer part of the defeated Ottoman Empire, as a Mandate under British control. The Southern part would become a “national home for the Jewish People” while the Arabs were expected to live side by side with their Jewish neighbors in peace. Both groups were euphoric with the Mandate. In 1948, Palestine was divided into two adversarial nations. Over the next six plus decades, there have been several wars and throughout the ultimate Cold War.

For the past twenty-five years Israeli journalist Hadara Lazar has conducted a series of interviews of those involved when The British Mandate ended in 1948. Fuad Shehadeh is an Arab whose family moved from Jerusalem to Ramallah in 1949. His description of Jerusalem in the last years of the Mandate sets the tone of a stunning series of memoirs as he recalls an upbeat community until the 1948 War that displaced many Arabs. James Livingstone of the British Consul remembers how much changed in 1946 from his previous assignments in Jerusalem as social life was limited to the British community. Meir Dreszner grew up in mixed Haifa while his wife Miriam in mixed Jerusalem. Under the Mandate Meir felt like a foreigner in an Arab restaurant; while Miriam says Jerusalem was a city of separate neighborhoods.

There are many more interesting anecdotal memoirs that provide readers the foundation of what has become entrenched enemies. Readers will appreciate the fascinating look back as Hadara Lazar interviews and obtains the thoughts and memories of numerous Jewish, Arab, and British people who lived in Palestine just after WWII as the Mandate was ending and the Jewish state formed.

Harriet Klausner

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