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On The Bookshelf
`Still Life With Bombers'
Author David Horovitz depicts the anguished state
of life in the Middle East
Special to the Jewish News
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While he doesn't veil his own opin-
ions, he also tries to see things as the
other side might. He admits, "The
more you live in this reality, the more
you understand the various voices, the
more you realize how little you know
or the epigraph of his new
book, Israeli journalist
David Horovitz chooses
two quotes: "Pray for the
peace of Jerusalem; Those who love
He says the book offers a bleak view.
you shall prosper. Peace be within
It's a book that will make readers cry.
your walls ..." (Psalm 122) followed by But even bleak or grim or sad isn't
the words on a refrigerator magnet
without hope, and Horovitz still
sold in Orlando, Fla. — also a prayer
expresses his longings for peace encased
these days: "Things to do today: -1.
in a veneer, even if thin, of optimism.
Get up. 2. Survive. 3. Go to bed."
He remains a believer in the decency
Still Lift with Bombers: Israel in the
and humanity of ordinary people,
Age of Terrorism (Knopf; $25) is a por-
although the last few years have made
trait of the "grisly lottery" of life in
him immediately conscious of the "evil
Israel, amidst shootings, exploding
that men are prepared to do, and espe-
buses, bombings of public places where cially the threat posed by the death
many are killed and no one
cult that is extremist
This wasn't exactly the
In his previous
book Horovitz, editor of g
book, Horovitz strug-
the Jerusalem Report and a
gled with the deci-
frequent commentator for
sion of whether to
the BBC, CNN and NPR, §
stay in Israel or, with
set out to write. He was
preparing some revisions
wife and children,
for his 2000 book, A Little
Too Close to God: The
where daily life
Thrills and Panic of Life in
wouldn't be full of
Israel when he realized
possible deathtraps at
that minor revisions
every turn. But
wouldn't work — that the
they're still in
David Horovitz: Teasing
world had changed.
out the truths of a
The earlier book was
published at a time of
pleasure of living in
optimism in Israel, now
one's. homeland, the
superseded by the conflict. So instead
invigoration of a common purpose
of updating, he found himself writing
among similarly energized people."
an entirely new book focusing on the
A fine writer, Horovitz has an eye
second intifada, covering the period
for the telling anecdote and perfect
from the Camp David summit in the
metaphor, as he teases out the truths
summer of 2000 to the election of
of a still-unfolding situation. The
Ariel Sharon in January 2003.
book is a mix of personal stories about
"I wanted to describe what life has
his friends and family — the reader
become, to correct what have been
sees his wife shielding the eyes of their
wide misconceptions about the con-
children as they drive pass the site of a
flict held by some reasonable-minded
recent bombing on the way to school
people," Horovitz. said in an interview. — and historical and political analysis.
The book is powerful for the
In a particularly poignant chapter,
author's vantage point. Horovitz, 41,
he tells the story of Yussuf, a 36-year
is a journalist committed to living in
old Palestinian "bookkeeper by train-
Israel, not a foreign correspondent
ing and plumber by default" who has
passing through en route to another
spent much of his life in a tent in the
assignment. And he writes as a hus-
El-Arub refugee camp near Hebron.
band and father of three young chil-
The two sit for hours in a cafe in the
dren, concerned for their daily safety
"no-man's land" between Israel and the
and for the world they'll inherit.
West Bank, talking passionately.