‘“The Other Side of Israel” is a deeply troubling book. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand the reality of life for the Arab citizens of Israel. Susan Nathan’s story bears witness to the shameful discrimination routinely practiced against them by the Israeli authorities. Her experience transforms her from an ardent Zionist into an eloquent but sorrowful critic of the state she had previously revered. Her account is the more telling because she writes with just as much warmth about her Jewish friends as she displays towards the Palestinians who befriend her. This important book not only has the ring of truth about it but an aura of hope as well.’ Jonathan Dimbleby
‘Extraordinary observation, sensitivity and insight.’ Jon Snow, Guardian
‘“The Other Side of Israel” could not be more timely…It deserves wide attention as a profoundly human story, thoughtful and funny and unafraid.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Eye-opening.’ Sunday Times
‘This is a powerful, readable and courageous book.’ Tablet
From the Back Cover
The Other Side of Israel is the powerfully human story of a British Jew and once-passionate Zionist who moves to Israel and makes an extraordinary decision: to live her new life beyond the ethnic divide, as a lone Jewish woman in an all-Arab town.
Leaving London in the late 1990s to take up the ‘Law of Return’ promised by Israel to Jews throughout the world, Susan Nathan is amazed to discover that one in five Israelis is not Jewish but Palestinian, the remnants of the country’s Arab population expelled in the 1948 war. She is even more shocked to find that none of her Jewish acquaintances have friends among their Arab fellow citizens. So she chooses to make a further journey across the country’s deep ethnic divide to live in Tamra, a town of 25,000 Muslims between Haifa and Nazareth in the Galilee.
Here she starts to see life in Israel through Arab eyes and experiences at first hand the daily discrimination exercised by the Jewish state against its Arab citizens – in education, employment, land ownership and local politics. Having been a regular visitor to apartheid-era South Africa, where her father was born, she is quickly aware of certain comparisons, but now begins, with the help of Arab and Jewish friends, to explore practical ways to establish a more just society.
In describing her life with warmth, compassion and humour, Susan Nathan is as observant of Arab frailties as of Jewish oppression. Her remarkable book is both revealing and inspirational – the record of one courageous woman’s life-enhancing response to a situation where entrenched attitudes lead only to more violence and bloodshed, it also offers fresh insights into how the bitter Israeli-Palestinian conflict might eventually be resolved.
–This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Susan Nathan was born in England and brought up for the most part in apartheid-era South Africa, where she strongly opposed the system. An AIDS counsellor in London, she decided in her fifties – recently divorced and with grown-up children – to take up the Jewish right of return and move to Israel. This is her first book.