I wrote Israela in an effort to counteract what I considered the black/white media coverage of the Israel Arab conflict. More than anything, my intent was to portray the human face of Israel. A plethora of historical treatises and political works has been written about Israel. It seems to me that they’re written for those who are already familiar with and invested in the area. There are also many powerful Israeli novelists whose stories provide us with background to the region's conflicts, glimpses into Israeli/Arab tensions.
Love and struggle with a family fragmented by war...
The aim of Israela is to describe life in Israel from the inside, to portray this country at war and its social complexity for people who, despite frequent news coverage, know little or nothing about what Israel, or Israelis - Jews and Arabs -
are like, much the way so many of us remained ignorant of Ireland’s centuries’ old war between Catholics and Protestants. What physical and ethical struggles do these people combat on a daily, often hourly basis? What is it like to live with insoluble conflicts? To continue living like that? To sacrifice your children to a never-ending drama?
Experience the human face of conflict.
I started writing this book for my children. Originally, I wanted to trace the trajectory of modern Israeli history in order to see how we’d arrived at our present reality. I also wrote it for the many people I meet who are ignorant of the complexity and the richness of Israeli life; ignorant of the temerity that all of its citizens demonstrate, and of the excruciating concerns that tear them apart on a constant basis. I am aware that this is only a perspective, my perspective, perhaps the perspective of many like myself; that it is one side of a conflict that originated way back in prehistorical times. Perhaps this is a prayer for understanding, for dialogue. In fact, it is mostly a work of fiction, of fantasy, ultimately – of hope.
The Human Face of Conflict
Interview Questions & Answers
Why did you write this book?
I wanted to portray the excruciating ethical and existential dilemmas that torment Israelis on a daily, hourly, basis. In the Middle East, people wage wars over perspectives. I want my readers to sit in Arab back yards and hear the dialogue, to sit on Jewish balconies and hear the dialogue. I wanted to bring my readers into Israeli homes, to experience for themselves the hope, the joy, and the pain.
What are you working on now?
I am at the beginning phases of my next novel.
Can you tell us something about it?
Not really. Only, perhaps, that it is a spin-off of one of the characters.
Why are your three main characters women?
Israel is surrounded by enemy countries, forced for its survival to rely on its necessary male reaction, the military. My book reflects an equally necessary, female, nurturing response, one that accompanies and challenges the all too often, but essential, hard line. In my mind, only with a fusion of healthy masculine and feminine energies, will Israel maintain stability in the area.
Do you think your book is one-sided?
I can only write what I know. My experience, and the extension of my knowledge, is all I have. Israela might well have been titled, Israela: A Perspective. As I say in the novel, “Wars are fought over perspectives.” Israela is an invitation to openhearted dialogue. Mostly, it is a story of passionate people under the constant threat of war.
What, in your mind, is the major question raised by your book?
How can these two peoples overcome hostility while remaining loyal to their cultures?
What political solutions does the book come up with?
None. Israela is a work of fiction. It paints a picture. It raises questions. I am neither a politician, nor a historian. However, my previous book (Electra: A Gender Sensitive Study of the Plays Based on the Myth, South Carolina, McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 1995) develops the same Jungian fusion of male and female principles that I emphasize here.