This is such a wise perspective on the rapidly changing situation in our world by former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, who participated in the peace summit with President Clinton, Ehud Barak, and Yasser Arafat in July 2000. The Oslo agreements failed. Israel and Jews must have a new vision and proposals. Peace treaties between Israel and the Palestinians won’t happen but management of the conflict must change. New regional groups and coalitions have emerged which will manage the problems in their own area; Iran fights with militias, not a unified army, in various countries. Israel is strong and its army is strong. Commenting on the general outlook of Israel and the Palestinians today, Ben-Ami says that, going back to 1948, Israel still wants moral legitimacy and recognition as a Jewish state on their ancestral land while the Palestinians still focus on restitution, but not state-building with strong institutions. He points out that the “state of Israel" existed before 1948 and was not created because of the Holocaust. Israelis and Jews want a moral Zionist state. Finally, in his view, “the real existential threat facing Israel is not nuclear Iran; rather, it is to be found in the morally corrosive effects of the oppressive occupation of the Palestinians."
Don’t Ask is a wonderful mystery replete with twists, turns, and surprises, and, as a bonus, it takes place in Montreal. The story reminds us that our history is complicated and we are sometimes stuck with the choices made by those who came before us. Hannah Baran is a likeable protagonist. She is a single woman in her forties who has become a real estate broker. Hannah has one very wealthy, and therefore, important client. When that special client insists she travel to Germany, Hannah’s mother, a Holocaust survivor, says, “Over my dead body will you go to that land of murders.” Sadly, shortly after that outburst, Rokhl, Hannah’s mother, dies under mysterious circumstances. As Hannah indeed does travel overseas, the story and the story of her mother’s life begin to unfold – a story of intrigue, guilt, and betrayal.
Let me start by saying that I loved this book. It blends science, ancient history, modern society, and astounding tales from around the world. Nestor is a scientific journalist and award-winning author of many books about science and sports. In his most recent book "Breath," he takes a very close look at the amply documented history and cutting-edge studies in the biochemistry, physiology, psychology, and religion of breathing. What emerges is a fascinating, thrilling book that encompasses history, religion, ancient burial sites, and the science behind ancient breathing techniques. With something surprising in every chapter, this book will give you insight on why you can't sleep well, why you snore, and why some of us are so sick and tired. A revelation.
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