Jerusalem Post editor pens incisive book about living in Israel during second intifada

David Horovitz, editor of the highly regarded news magazine Jerusalem Report and recently appointed editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, has written a heart-rending account of life in Israel since the second intifada erupted in 2000. He ably blends wise political comment with personal experiences in “Still Life With Bombers.”

As a metaphor for what has been happening during these past three years, Horovitz begins by contrasting a May 2000 family outing to Bethlehem, 10 minutes from their home, to a visit there two years later as a journalist covering the siege at the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem was no longer a place to take his family. Concern for the threat of terrorism and its impact on his family are described as daily preoccupations. He candidly discusses the difficult debates within his family and among his friends as to whether or not they should leave Israel. While he understands those who have decided to leave, he and his family have opted to stay.

In a particularly useful chapter, Horovitz addresses the question: “How Did We Get Into This Mess?” He traces the history of peace negotiations beginning with the Oslo accords and the famous 1993 handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn.

The failure of the Camp David summit of 2000 is unequivocally attributed to Arafat, despite the varying accounts of what actually took place.

Horovitz clings to frail hope. He says, “I refuse to believe that Palestinian mothers are essentially different from Jewish and Christian mothers.” But even though he sympathetically recounts the sufferings of the Palestinians, he does not mention the ways in which many Palestinian mothers rejoiced at the martyrdom of their sons, the suicide bombers.

This is a sobering, well-written book that offers many important insights into the inextricable Gordian knot that constitutes the Israeli-Palestinian predicament.

“Still Life With Bombers” by David Horovitz (288 pages, Knopf, $24.95).