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THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN BY THERESE ZRIHEN-DVIR
REVIEW BY BARB302 LIBRARYTHING
This amazing book is a fictionalized account of an actual tragic event. On January 22, 1995 two Palestinian suicide bombers blew up the Beit Lid bus station killing many Israeli
soldiers returning to their army bases and other innocent civilians. Hundreds of Israelis were hurt and 22 young Israelis were killed. The reader cannot help but plummet into the very depths of
despair while witnessing the struggles of the central character, Naomi and her reaction to all this violence. Naomi is a holocaust survivor, divorced and is in her fifties. She and her daughter
Nicole, a Phd researcher, are returning home from a weekend away in the northern part of Israel when they stop at the intersection of the Beit Lid bus station. A few minutes later this horrible
act of terror occurs. Totally traumatized by what they see...body parts flying everwhere, they instantly try to assist the wounded. They call for the rescue workers and when they arrive, the two
women try to save as many victims as possible.
The story follows these two women in the aftermath of this suicide bombing as they try to understand why there cannot be peace between Israelis and Palestinians and how they and others can survive the daily threats of Palestinian violence. The author explains that "No one ever suspected that a Palestinian terrorist disguised as an Israeli soldier would emerge from their ranks. The station was wide open, with no fence and no security guards to supervise the coming and goings of soldiers or passersby, or to check their identification."
We learn that Naomi limits her excursions from her home because she fears she will be caught in a bombing. Her daughter Nicole hesitates to get married or have children in an atmosphere that is so unsafe to bring up children. With great skill, the author, Therese Zrihen-Dvir weaves the story of these two women, their political beliefs, their emotional highs and lows with the fate of the victims of this bus bombing. She even includes photos of some of those killed by the bombing and reactions from their families. The reader experiences the longing of these two women for a sense of peace and quiet, their desire to feel safe, and how devastating it is for them to hear news reports each day of more lost lives.
Not only is the author successful in revealing the many aspects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but she helps the reader better understand the political background of the many years of dispute between these two cultures. I found this to be a brilliantly written book, one that is not easy to read without weeping, but one that begs the question... can there ever be peace between Palestinians and Israelis? Does one culture believe it is alright to sacrifice human life for the glory of rewards in Heaven, while the other culture believes that if one kills another person there is never a reward in Heaven. The author comments at the conclusion of the book, "I pity those who gullibly believe that by taking innocent life, they merit any life on earth or any Heavenly life awaiting them in the hereafter."
It is clear to the reader that the author is Israeli and her viewpoint expresses the Israeli side of the argument. She does mention that Palestinians feel they have been displaced and want their land back and the author questions who really owns the land... only God owns it. I'm not sure this is a valid argument, but certainly after reading this well-written book, one hopes both sides will one day find a way to live in peace with each other.
This book has it all...interesting characters, emotions that run the gamut from the joy of birth to the despair of death, as well as drama arising from the clash of two cultures who are struggling for survival. I have visited Israel twice and it would be difficult to deny the caution that exists in residents as well as tourists. These are volatile times, emotions run high and there is alot at stake for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. This is a book that provides an important perspective. Be sure to read it! ( )
barb302 | Feb 14, 2011 |
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About meWriter and Artist, Avid reader of all genres of books. Student of Zen Buddhism, Kabbalah and interested in spirituality of all religions. Particular interest in books about the holocaust and well-written fiction/historical fiction.Love to read memoirs, human interest type books and psychological thrillers. Enjoy walking beaches, going on moderate hikes and being in the outdoors communing with nature.
About my libraryCovers the gamut from historical fiction to autobiography/biography to spiritual books and many, many more. Just a partial collection of my books and some books i've read.
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