This is the story of six people who lived and worked in Palestine in the 1930s; remarkable nonconformists who tried to find a solution to the deteriorating relations between Jews and Arabs, the two peoples living under British Mandate rule. Some took an active part in dialogues between the two peoples and believed that it was possible to live together, although they knew that the chances were slim. When World War II broke out, the contacts ended. Two Jews?Manya Shochat and Judah Leib Magnes; two Arabs? Mussa Alami and George Antonius; and two Britons?Arthur Wauchope and Orde Wingate, left their distinctive mark on the events of that period, when the Arabs of Palestine realized that they might become a minority under the Jews, whose numbers were growing because of the persecution in Europe. Hadara Lazar has spoken to the descendants of these six individuals and has explored archives and libraries, in Israel and abroad, to produce a book whose personal voice places it squarely in the middle ground between history and literature. Succinctly and with spellbinding narrative skill, she describes the uniqueness, the inner strife, the controversial actions, and the extraordinary, sometimes tragic, lives of her six subjects. And through their portraits, a turbulent and fateful period emerges from the past, during which it might have been possible to prevent what has happened and is still happening between Jews and Arabs today.
About the author
Hadara Lazar was born and grew up in Haifa. She holds a BA in history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and also studied literature at the Sorbonne, Paris. During the First Intifada, she worked with B?Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization. Lazar has published several novels and two non-fiction books. She is also the translator of Sartre's major novel, Nausea, into Hebrew. Her book, Out of Palestine: The Making of Modern Israel, was recently published in English (US, atlas).