Hope for the Holy Land by Mona Pastroff Goldstein

Hope for the Holy Land begins shortly before May 14, 1948 at midnight when the United Nations issued the Declaration of Independence for the state of Israel. Over the next few days the armies of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, and Syria invaded Israel, and officially and militarily threatened to occupy the whole of the former Mandate territory. This was to be the first of many wars and attacks by terrorists and those Muslim extremists who wished to drive the Israelis “into the sea.” Few at the UN or elsewhere thought the tiny country could survive, yet Israel has endured and achieved for 66 years to date. Through the eyes of a Jewish family, as well as those of their Arab friends, we read about the Israeli struggles to preserve and maintain a new/old country, we feel the joys and sorrows they encounter, and experience the confrontations and battles they face in the pursuit of peace with their neighbors. We first meet Asher and Leah Ben David, both of whom are involved with different contributions for the Haganah during the War of Independence. Their close relationship with Arab friends, Rafi and Nida Farouk, is sorely tested during this era of Israel’s first few years of independence. Leah and Nida, as well as their sons, Rueben and Abdullah, manage to renew and retain their friendship as they succeed in working toward several common goals. The wars forced upon Israel by their Muslim neighbors, as well as the constant attacks by the fayadeen, only serve to strengthen the Israeli determination to survive. And survive they do! This tiny democracy, surrounded by hostile countries two-hundred fifty times their land mass, manages to excel in communication technology, medical research, environmental advancement, and advanced agriculture. With the United States as its strongest ally, the Israeli leaders (from David Ben-Gurion to Benjamin Netanyahu) pursue peace and a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Three generations of the Ben David family and the Farouk family will guide us through the problems, joys, and surprises that will challenge both the Israeli Jews and the Israeli Arabs. Young Adults will benefit from the historical fiction format.

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