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Catch the Jew! recounts the adventures of gonzo journalist Tuvia Tenenbom, who wanders around Israel and the Palestinian Authority for seven months in search of the untold truths in today's Holy Land. With holy chutzpah, Tenenbom boldly goes where no Jew has gone before, at times risking his life as he assumes the identities of Tobi the German and even Abu Ali in order to Catch the Jew! recounts the adventures of gonzo journalist Tuvia Tenenbom, who wanders around Israel and the Palestinian Authority for seven months in search of the untold truths in today's Holy Land. With holy chutzpah, Tenenbom boldly goes where no Jew has gone before, at times risking his life as he assumes the identities of Tobi the German and even Abu Ali in order to probe into the many stories in this strange land and poke holes in all of them. From the self-hating leftists in Tel Aviv to the self-promoting PLO execs in Ramallah, from the black-clad Haredim of Bet Shemesh to the glowing foreign human rights activists in Beit Hanina, from Jewish settlers and the Christians who come from abroad to toil with them to ardent Jerusalem monks and Bedouins in surprisingly glorious shacks, Tenenbom takes on the people of the land, getting to know them and disarming them as he breaks bread and mingles with anyone and everyone. Does Palestinian wife number one hate the Jews more than she hates wife number two? Who finances cash-rich NGOs pursuing a Judenrein Israel? Who sets Palestinian olive groves on fire and why? What is the emotional gravity that pulls idealistic human rights activists from other countries to Israel and only to Israel? Who are the flaming feminists who sacrifice their lives for the rights of polygamists? Whose land is this, anyway? By turns poignant, enraging, and laugh-out-loud funny, this unique travelogue lays bare the intensity of this turbulent land in an unprecedented, eye-opening education, person by person, city by city, and meal by meal. You will never look at Israel the same way again.


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Catch the Jew! recounts the adventures of gonzo journalist Tuvia Tenenbom, who wanders around Israel and the Palestinian Authority for seven months in search of the untold truths in today's Holy Land. With holy chutzpah, Tenenbom boldly goes where no Jew has gone before, at times risking his life as he assumes the identities of Tobi the German and even Abu Ali in order to Catch the Jew! recounts the adventures of gonzo journalist Tuvia Tenenbom, who wanders around Israel and the Palestinian Authority for seven months in search of the untold truths in today's Holy Land. With holy chutzpah, Tenenbom boldly goes where no Jew has gone before, at times risking his life as he assumes the identities of Tobi the German and even Abu Ali in order to probe into the many stories in this strange land and poke holes in all of them. From the self-hating leftists in Tel Aviv to the self-promoting PLO execs in Ramallah, from the black-clad Haredim of Bet Shemesh to the glowing foreign human rights activists in Beit Hanina, from Jewish settlers and the Christians who come from abroad to toil with them to ardent Jerusalem monks and Bedouins in surprisingly glorious shacks, Tenenbom takes on the people of the land, getting to know them and disarming them as he breaks bread and mingles with anyone and everyone. Does Palestinian wife number one hate the Jews more than she hates wife number two? Who finances cash-rich NGOs pursuing a Judenrein Israel? Who sets Palestinian olive groves on fire and why? What is the emotional gravity that pulls idealistic human rights activists from other countries to Israel and only to Israel? Who are the flaming feminists who sacrifice their lives for the rights of polygamists? Whose land is this, anyway? By turns poignant, enraging, and laugh-out-loud funny, this unique travelogue lays bare the intensity of this turbulent land in an unprecedented, eye-opening education, person by person, city by city, and meal by meal. You will never look at Israel the same way again.

30 review for Catch The Jew!: Eye-opening education - You will never look at Israel the same way again

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Tenenbom is Jewish, Israeli in fact, and though he has “carried no flag for any country,” at the end of this book he finds himself holding a Palestinian flag in a group of stone-throwing demonstrators in Bil’in, being filmed by European television and documentary crews. It hadn’t been Tenenbom’s idea to be a part of the show, but since traveling around Israel for some months claiming he was Abu Ali the German or Tobi the German journalist, he’d been invited to this celebration of Palestinian Ind Tenenbom is Jewish, Israeli in fact, and though he has “carried no flag for any country,” at the end of this book he finds himself holding a Palestinian flag in a group of stone-throwing demonstrators in Bil’in, being filmed by European television and documentary crews. It hadn’t been Tenenbom’s idea to be a part of the show, but since traveling around Israel for some months claiming he was Abu Ali the German or Tobi the German journalist, he’d been invited to this celebration of Palestinian Independence Day, all staged for the benefit of the cameras and their international audience. In Tenenbom’s view, finding himself in this position was the height of absurdity. Tenenbom went to Israel in 2013 at the request of his publisher. His earlier book, I Sleep in Hitler's Room: An American Jew Visits Germany, about a six-month walking tour of Germany, appears to be a critique of European attitudes towards Jewishness, and became an international bestseller. Tenenbom had been born ultra-Orthodox in Israel from a long line of European rabbis. He was groomed to follow that path himself until, as a young man, he moved to the United States and to pursue higher degrees in mathematics and literature. For thirty-three years he pursued a career as journalist and columnist for media outlets in the U.S. and Germany, and as playwright in the Jewish Theatre of New York, which he founded and manages with his wife Isi. His role as journalist, playwright, and failed rabbi gave him the perfect platform to ask probing questions about the Israeli/Palestinian situation. His playful yet incisive questioning and manner allowed him to re-state and re-frame arguments in which sides have been drawn for some time, giving us another angle from which to view the action. This book, about his several-month stay in Israel in 2013-14, begins light-heartedly enough, laughing along with the little deceptions of both sides in the Israel/Palestinian debate, expressing a sense of camaraderie, appetite, and deep joy at spending time again in the Middle East. The longer he stays, however, the more Tenenbom sees traps for the Jewish state in the language Israelis and Palestinians use when describing the actions and positions of each side. There is a huge under-informed army of NGOs and Christian religious organizations that have developed very effective propaganda tools to support the Palestinian cause at the expense of the Jewish state. Tenenbom can see it is big business and grows more distressed when Jewish newspapermen like Gideon Levy writing for Haaretz do not ask better, more thorough questions and instead seems to accept the self-flagellating viewpoint that Israelis are racist. By the end of the volume Tenenbom is losing his sense of humor about Jews he calls “self-hating,” who are not pressing hard enough in their self-examination about what is expected of them, or are not keeping their minds nimble and open to the realities of the situation. The Palestinians may be milking the “conflict” for all it’s worth, but some of the truly needy are being overlooked in the rush to help the more polished actors. Pay attention we can hear him say in subtext. Stay skeptical. Tenenbom is very persuasive, and very likable: he has an earthy, warm, and intimate way of pointing to our similarities rather than our differences. It is when he meets a uncompromising right-wing settler who insists on his right to burn the Palestinian olive trees because he is “at war” that Tenenbom’s attitude receives its most damning blow. Tenenbom responds that the man sounds like a Goy, like any other non-Jewish farmer he’d known, not like a normal Jew."Personally, I hardly get to meet conviction-driven Jews, say-what-I-think Jews, farming Jews, if-you-slap-me-on-one-cheek-I’ll-slap-you-on-both-cheeks Jews. The Jews I know are neurotic Jews, weak Jews, self-hating Jews, hate-filled-narcissist Jews, accept-every-blame Jews, bowing to all non-Jews Jews, ever guilt-ridden Jews, ugly-looking Jews, big-nosed and hunch-backed Jews, cold Jews, brainy Jews, yapping Jews, and here-are-both-my-cheeks-and-you-can-slap-them-both Jews. To me, the biggest proof that Jesus was Jewish is this: Who else, but a Jew, could come up with this statement: ‘If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one as well’?"If your convictions haven’t been shaken up in awhile, Tenenbom stands ready to help out. He is funny, and those who appreciate self-deprecation will have an easier time of it. His extra layer of thoughtfulness rearranges the Middle East so that we must go back through our understanding and look again, do more work on examining how the ground game has changed since the last time we looked. At the end we may not agree that Europeans, Americans and Palestinians can exhibit anti-Semitism commonly and regularly, but he will have us looking closely, to make sure. What he is saying is that Jews are really just like anyone else—no better but certainly no worse—and any attempt to categorize them or assign a ‘national character’ is specious. This enormously interesting book makes immoderate readers of us. Tenenbom is someone we’d like to encounter again. He makes us think, he makes us laugh, and he seems a perfectly ethical sort. His book is divided into chapters called "gates." Those familiar with the Torah will know of the Fifty Gates of Wisdom or the Fifty Gates of Understanding. Well, Tenenbom has fifty-five gates, but the idea is the same: "Being worthy of receiving prophecy requires character improvement." The thing is, Tenenbom is not optimistic about Israel's longevity in the world. Poor leadership, perhaps, and I agree. Tenenbom has written a new book on travels around the United States in the lead up to the last election, called The Lies They Tell, just published March 2017.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Toby Stupp

    I wanted to hate the book and personally I don't think I am crazy about the author but he holds up a harsh picture and it makes me uncomfortable. He is clear and honest and doesn't allow you to look away. He insists that the things we accept because ... (no good reason) , is silly and enough is enough. He writes well, is very interesting. He is a former intellectual, which is funny since he comes from an unstated position, simply asking questions and waiting for answers which he seldomly gets. I wanted to hate the book and personally I don't think I am crazy about the author but he holds up a harsh picture and it makes me uncomfortable. He is clear and honest and doesn't allow you to look away. He insists that the things we accept because ... (no good reason) , is silly and enough is enough. He writes well, is very interesting. He is a former intellectual, which is funny since he comes from an unstated position, simply asking questions and waiting for answers which he seldomly gets.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K

    I recently saw an unfamiliar title posted as to-read by one of my goodreads friends, followed by an enthusiastic thank-you from another goodreads member for alerting them to that book's existence. The title of that other book sparked my curiosity, and I read the description and sighed. Yet another book about Israel, billed as non-fiction, reportedly "eye-opening" and revealing the "hidden truth" about Israel. Every time I read a book like this, the "hidden truth" appears to be that Israel is a s I recently saw an unfamiliar title posted as to-read by one of my goodreads friends, followed by an enthusiastic thank-you from another goodreads member for alerting them to that book's existence. The title of that other book sparked my curiosity, and I read the description and sighed. Yet another book about Israel, billed as non-fiction, reportedly "eye-opening" and revealing the "hidden truth" about Israel. Every time I read a book like this, the "hidden truth" appears to be that Israel is a simple place with blameless victims and evil aggressors. This "truth" is revealed through emotionally manipulative narratives, one-sided interviews, and a distinct lopsidedness when it comes to critical thinking. I lived in Israel for many years, and the truth is far from simple. A conflict that's as deep and longstanding as that taking place in Israel is clearly not a Disney movie with unequivocal heroes and villains, and I have a hard time trusting any author who would imply otherwise. And yet, the world seems to swallow these stories whole. Along comes Tuvia Tenenbom, described as a "gonzo journalist," here to share his experiences posing as a German Christian in Israel. Well, talk about shocking hidden truths and a lack of intellectual honesty. Although some of my fellow readers questioned a few of Tuvia's narratives, if even half of this book is true (and it's hard to imagine the whole thing is fabricated; too many people were mentioned by name who could easily call Tuvia out if that were the case), it gives one pause. At the very least, wherever one's sympathies lie, I hope people will read this book and reexamine their gullibility on this topic. This book was packed full with narratives that were both amusing and disturbing, and I couldn't possibly do the book justice if I tried to recount them all. Tuvia is clearly a bombastic man with a lack of social boundaries, and if you want hidden truths, especially in Israel, you're probably more likely to get them that way than by being polite. All I can say is, this book is easy to read, compelling, and will hopefully make you a more critical consumer of books about the Middle East.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shlomo Fisherowitz

    I've been reading this book for several days and can't put it down. The author has made me laugh, upset me, educated me and insulted me; but all in all has brought an amazing book to the table. The Israel/Arab situation with points of view I haven't seen elsewhere. Truth prevails as he strips away retoric and self serving fluff. A definitate read, but forgive the occasional bad language... I've been reading this book for several days and can't put it down. The author has made me laugh, upset me, educated me and insulted me; but all in all has brought an amazing book to the table. The Israel/Arab situation with points of view I haven't seen elsewhere. Truth prevails as he strips away retoric and self serving fluff. A definitate read, but forgive the occasional bad language...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    It's wildly popular to be anti-Israel these days and it was so refreshing to read something that pushed back against that. Tuvia tries to show what's really going on behind the scenes in Israel and Palestine and it was easy to get through despite the heavy topics at hand. Rarely do I read a book that I want to buy for other people, but this really feels like a book that everyone should read. It's wildly popular to be anti-Israel these days and it was so refreshing to read something that pushed back against that. Tuvia tries to show what's really going on behind the scenes in Israel and Palestine and it was easy to get through despite the heavy topics at hand. Rarely do I read a book that I want to buy for other people, but this really feels like a book that everyone should read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Miller

    I prefer my 'serious' books to be serious in tone (for instance one of my major dislikes about 'Inconvenient Indian' was the author's sarcasm and glibness) and this book suffers from a lot of the same smugness that I disliked in that book. Aside from that I found this book to be truly eye-opening- which I believe is saying something about a book about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict considering how much time I have spent living in Israel and reading various books on the subject. Tuvi I prefer my 'serious' books to be serious in tone (for instance one of my major dislikes about 'Inconvenient Indian' was the author's sarcasm and glibness) and this book suffers from a lot of the same smugness that I disliked in that book. Aside from that I found this book to be truly eye-opening- which I believe is saying something about a book about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict considering how much time I have spent living in Israel and reading various books on the subject. Tuvia/Toby/Abu Ali is a unique guide to the messed up world of Israel circa 2013 since he seems to be a German citizen with German press credentials and at the same time speaks both Hebrew and Arabic. Combining this with a willingness (bravery? stupidity?) to go places most Jews in Israel wouldn't dare go he is able to provide firsthand accounts of a host of interesting things. For the experienced observer of Israel and its people and politics there are no major surprises but the book is definitely a very good read- especially in the surgical way he dissects the hypocrisy and barely-concealed anti-semitism of the various NGOs operating in Israel- most of which are supported by european countries. Like I said- no real surprises here- but the book does point a powerful 'J'accuse' at Europe and their proxies working inside of Israel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    I hate hasbara and pro-Israel literature, really. I don't think people should excuse themselves for being who they are, and mostly hasbara media/literature is about this, about trying to downplay your desires, about trying to be political correct or fit in. Catch the Jew! is the opposite of this. It's funny, sincere, sad and tragic. I spent an awful lot of time in Israel and my impressions were exactly the same: the perceptions people outside Israel have of it- for a series of external and interna I hate hasbara and pro-Israel literature, really. I don't think people should excuse themselves for being who they are, and mostly hasbara media/literature is about this, about trying to downplay your desires, about trying to be political correct or fit in. Catch the Jew! is the opposite of this. It's funny, sincere, sad and tragic. I spent an awful lot of time in Israel and my impressions were exactly the same: the perceptions people outside Israel have of it- for a series of external and internal interests- is distorted to the point of no resemblance with the truth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yulie

    probably greatest book i've read in a while probably greatest book i've read in a while

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laila

    It's a pity that I didn't read this book before my 4-day trip to Israel recently; otherwise I would have observed and experienced Israel with a better insight because nothing that I've read on Israel (mostly scholarly works) really prepared me with the reality on the ground. I love this Tuvia fella, I think he's the kind of person that I would easily talk to for hours over food and drink or maybe take a long walk and talk together and I know I would come away with things to think over. I totally It's a pity that I didn't read this book before my 4-day trip to Israel recently; otherwise I would have observed and experienced Israel with a better insight because nothing that I've read on Israel (mostly scholarly works) really prepared me with the reality on the ground. I love this Tuvia fella, I think he's the kind of person that I would easily talk to for hours over food and drink or maybe take a long walk and talk together and I know I would come away with things to think over. I totally get his sense of humor, his curiosity and his audacity to satisfied this curiosity to whatever corners and paths it may leads him. He's an intelligent, articulate man though he tries to dampened it down by playing dumb or a little crazy fat man. It's actually helps that this book was written with a high dose of humor and sarcasm, but as a matter of fact the subject matters are not easily digestible. I'm appalled by the level and the extent of meddling by the European countries, the EU, and the UN, and the NGOs who are doing nothing but undermining Israel stability as a democratic state and make life harder for the Jews. The concerted effort of anti-antisemitism is blatant and unrepentant. No wonder peace has no meaning over there. I've heard of the lack of Arab-Israeli loyalty toward Israel and their contempt towards the Jews (be it Muslim or Christian) before; they just grab what they can as their entitlements and devoid of gratitude. Having said there I'm also aware that there's a minority who buck the trend and indeed pledge their allegiance to Israel and in fact served in IDF by choice. Bravo to you. What most appalling to me reserved to the self-hating Jews who live in Israel and doing their utmost best to undermined the survival of their fellow Jews and Israel as a Jewish state. What the hell is wrong with you people? Supposed you got what you wish for, that the Jew becomes the minority in Israel, do you really think the Arab majority would treat the Jew as well as the Jew treats the Arab minority presently? The Arabs in Israel fare better than those in under PA's authority. Here's reality check for the self-hating Jews out there: Iraq, where are your Jews? Iran, where are your Jews? Lebanon, where are your Jews. Syria, where are your Jews? Egypt, where are Jews? Turkey, where are your Jews? God forbid: Israel, where are your Jews? For Israel to survive as a Jewish state and the only functioning democracy in Middle East for many years to come, the Jews as people need to find unity that binds but this endeavor, I am afraid only the Jews can do it for themselves. For certain, being the fifth column in your own country doesn't help. It's like a band of termites who rotting the house from within.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gideon

    Must read expose focused on European attempts to undermine the state of Israel. Tenenbom is hilarious and simply talks to a lot of people never hiding that he's an author but at times pretending to be German and he gets quite the interesting results. He talks to leftists and rightists, Jews, Muslism, Christians, Arabs, and Druse. The result is a detailed fascinating look at Israeli society as well as the people who seek to destroy it. Must read expose focused on European attempts to undermine the state of Israel. Tenenbom is hilarious and simply talks to a lot of people never hiding that he's an author but at times pretending to be German and he gets quite the interesting results. He talks to leftists and rightists, Jews, Muslism, Christians, Arabs, and Druse. The result is a detailed fascinating look at Israeli society as well as the people who seek to destroy it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    What a strange book/experience/travelogue/political commentary/indictment.... Imagine your favorite Bill Bryson (or Tim Moore) book about walking (or traveling) in a familiar land, randomly meeting people, and chronicling unusual stories. But, no, that's not the right place to start, because Bryson and Moore are masters of self-deprecation, relentlessly poking fun at themselves, their surroundings, and their experiences. It's all about the laugh, and it's great fun. And, sure, there are a handful What a strange book/experience/travelogue/political commentary/indictment.... Imagine your favorite Bill Bryson (or Tim Moore) book about walking (or traveling) in a familiar land, randomly meeting people, and chronicling unusual stories. But, no, that's not the right place to start, because Bryson and Moore are masters of self-deprecation, relentlessly poking fun at themselves, their surroundings, and their experiences. It's all about the laugh, and it's great fun. And, sure, there are a handful of yucks here, but this is too close to investigative journalism, too political, and - far more importantly - too sad, if not pathetic, to sustain any semblance of humor. Here the topic is Israel, Palestine, Antisemitism, and the bizarre forces percolating beneath some (but by no means all) of the tension in the Middle East. It's a modern, unique, and, in some ways, refreshing take on the unlikelihood of achieving peace and resolving any number of ongoing conflicts between Israel, Jews, Palestine, and the Arab community. But it's much more. And - and this may be the most compelling aspect of the book - it appears to conclude at at very different place from where it began. My sense - and I concede my perspective may not be authoritative - was that the book began as an ex-pat/ex-insider's travelogue of his journey to where was once home but is no more. By the end, however, it read like (just another) expose of long-simmering, intractable, perverse, and, sadly inexplicable, elitist European antisemitism. I don't expect that Tenebom's book is going to change anyone's opinion. The stereotypical self-hating Jew/Israeli, no doubt, is immune to this. I doubt that Arabs, generally, Palestinians, specifically, or anti-Israeli-inclined (or ardently antisemitic) Europeans will be reading the book. And I'm guessing that, no matter how many examples Tenenbom articulates of Arabs/Palestinians, having been educated (at no charge) at Israel's universities, spewing venom at their "occupiers," while European-supported Arab/Muslim institutions (from entire cities to holy sites) exclude and suppress Jews will change anyone's minds. The positions - and the hatred - runs too deep.... Tenebom's style of reporting or journalism is somewhere between unconventional, unethical (in that he consistently misrepresents his status, among other things), and anecdotal to meet any professional standards, but that's not his concern. As a result, however, it's hard to take him seriously, which is a shame, because, by the end, in his bizarre way, he assembles a case - of European, and particularly, German, funding and fueling of not only antisemitism, but strange and irrational pro-Palestinian priorities and misinformation - that's as depressing as it is compelling. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, assuming he's sane, Tenebom has guts. Part of me thinks the book should be sold with a bright orange sticker that reads: Kids, don't try this at home! It's quite an undertaking/enterprise/project, but it's just too depressing for me to recommend without hesitation....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Doris Jean

    Definitely five stars. This is an amazing book. It rings with bold, shocking truths free of propaganda and it is sprinkled with humor and irony and a bit of sarcasm. I now want to read all of Tenenbom's books, he seems highly intelligent and trustworthy. I wish the world could read this one. This is a most unusual book. I loved it, and I loved the unbiased information and the interesting facts I learned, like "Bethlehem" means "house of bread", "bet" is "house" and "lechem" is "bread" in Hebrew. Definitely five stars. This is an amazing book. It rings with bold, shocking truths free of propaganda and it is sprinkled with humor and irony and a bit of sarcasm. I now want to read all of Tenenbom's books, he seems highly intelligent and trustworthy. I wish the world could read this one. This is a most unusual book. I loved it, and I loved the unbiased information and the interesting facts I learned, like "Bethlehem" means "house of bread", "bet" is "house" and "lechem" is "bread" in Hebrew. This book is truly a "good read" about the Holy Land.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Moritz

    Funny, witty, amazingly well researched and written, exposing bias and inconsistencies in dealing with the 'Israeli issue'. The best book ever written on the subject. I was laughing a lot reading it, although sometimes through tears. Funny, witty, amazingly well researched and written, exposing bias and inconsistencies in dealing with the 'Israeli issue'. The best book ever written on the subject. I was laughing a lot reading it, although sometimes through tears.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Irene Adam

    I received an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book contains the author’s observations and conversations with politicians, religious leaders, human rights workers, soldiers, and the ordinary people living in the area during his journey over a period of several months throughout Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor and satire. He writes very honestly about what he sees and hears. According to the author racism and hypocrisy ar I received an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book contains the author’s observations and conversations with politicians, religious leaders, human rights workers, soldiers, and the ordinary people living in the area during his journey over a period of several months throughout Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. I enjoyed the author’s sense of humor and satire. He writes very honestly about what he sees and hears. According to the author racism and hypocrisy are extreme and rampant on all sides throughout this area. Everyone has a different agenda. I got the feeling that everything was about money. Per the author’s observations some of the news that we receive from this area is inaccurate, and at times the violence is staged. I found this book to be very revealing and a book that everyone should read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sanib

    Tuvia writes with esprit and humor but the reality is sad: Europeans and in particular germans do not fight only the jews in Europe, no, behind NGOs they come to fight the jews in Israel and the West Bank. Mr. Tenenbom which comes to Israel under cover (as Tobi der Deutsche) succeeds to unmask jew haters and jewish self-haters that poison this wonderful land and people.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Henken

    I enjoyed this book a lot, but I don't like to rate many books five stars. It devalues the currency. But when I realized that my "highlighting" probably covered 80% of the book (and sometimes it would have been more if I hadn't been embarrassed to highlight whole chapters), I was forced into it. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I don't like to rate many books five stars. It devalues the currency. But when I realized that my "highlighting" probably covered 80% of the book (and sometimes it would have been more if I hadn't been embarrassed to highlight whole chapters), I was forced into it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Moshe Mikanovsky

    wow! as much as I love my homeland, Israel is such a crazy place. Everyone, no but I mean EVERYONE over there has their own narrative, a story that they believe in whether it is true or not, and they just don't budge. They will twist reality to fit it. And, Germans/Germany are sadly woven into all of it, and not in a good way. Ironic. Sharp. Sad. wow! as much as I love my homeland, Israel is such a crazy place. Everyone, no but I mean EVERYONE over there has their own narrative, a story that they believe in whether it is true or not, and they just don't budge. They will twist reality to fit it. And, Germans/Germany are sadly woven into all of it, and not in a good way. Ironic. Sharp. Sad.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Noor

    Surprising and interesting book that will make you think - regardless of how you stepped into it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Davide

    the true about the lies about the situation in Israel and in the Palestinian territories

  20. 4 out of 5

    N.P. Ryan

    If liking to consider yourself well informed on the subjects of Israel, Palestine, The West Bank and Antisemitism, this is a MUST read. Funny, warm and compelling in bounds, this amazing endeavour is equally eye-opening, shocking and above all else, deeply sad.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christiane

    Hm. The book starts out funnily enough and made me laugh out loud a few times. Until I got to the sentence "King Herod reconstructed the Second Temple, which was in place as of 516 BCE", the first Temple being destroyed in 586 by the Babylonians. You know, the same King Herod who was supposedly around when Jesus was born, around 4 BCE. Long live the King! Of course, if you know a bit about Middle Eastern history, you'll know that the Second Temple was actually rebuilt by decree of Cyrus the Great Hm. The book starts out funnily enough and made me laugh out loud a few times. Until I got to the sentence "King Herod reconstructed the Second Temple, which was in place as of 516 BCE", the first Temple being destroyed in 586 by the Babylonians. You know, the same King Herod who was supposedly around when Jesus was born, around 4 BCE. Long live the King! Of course, if you know a bit about Middle Eastern history, you'll know that the Second Temple was actually rebuilt by decree of Cyrus the Great, a Persian ruler, and finished under Darius the Great around 516 BCE. King Herod then renovated the Temple around 20 BCE and made it truly magnificent and Roman-style. This little mistake [[edit: mistake might not be the right word, it's more of a confusing shortcut]] threw me off, because Tenenbom sounds so assertive throughout the book that you want to accept everything he says at face value. I've actually been to all of the places he talks about, I've seen many of the things he witnessed, I have first-hand experience with most of the political and religious groups he interviews - and while some things were indeed eye-opening, such as the circus most of the European NGOs are a part of, at other times his shortcuts were annoying. His humor can't be an excuse for using leading questions to get to the conclusions he wants - in this he isn't much better than that British journalist he mocks. Take his interview with an Israeli military pilot who says he re-evaluated his world-view after hearing the testimony of a man whose sister was paralyzed from the neck downward because of the conflict. Tenenbom comments "How a story of a paralyzed Palestinian girl could touch him so deeply, he who has flown many Jews to hospitals with severed limbs or lifeless, is not clear to me." and "during a peace initiative geared to spread love between Arab and Jew, [...] this Jew started to hate other Jews". Then he eggs him on with questions like how would the Arabs have treated the Jews if they'd won in 1967. That's missing the point of the pilot's story - here is a man who talks about the turning point where he saw his "enemy" as human, where he put a face on the conflict and realized that not all the information he'd received in his army training was completely accurate. No, of course the Arabs wouldn't have been nice to the Jews if they'd won, probably would have massacred them all. Does this mean that today we have to treat all of them like enemies, that seeing them as human makes you a laughing stock, a Jew-hater? Or even the one passing mention he makes of Neve Shalom Wahat asSalam, the Arab-Jewish peace village: he calls it "peace-chasing". Peace-chasing? It's a village where Palestinians and Jews live together (yes, mostly well-to-do secular people) and the kids grow up speaking both Hebrew and Arabic. Why the mean comment, when one of the big arguments he has against Israeli leftists is that they don't speak Arabic and don't personally know any Palestinians? Wouldn't it have been worth his time to go check out the place in more detail? Or saying "The international community and the demonstrators demanded that Jews should not be allowed to live anywhere in Sheikh Jarrah". No, the international community and demonstrators doesn't want families who were placed in Sheikh Jarrah by the Jordanian government in 1956 after they were displaced from their homes in (West) Jerusalem in 1948 because of the war to be expelled from their homes, there is a small but meaningful difference there. There are many parts like this in the book, and after a while it's a frustrating read. Again, there are many things I'm willing to believe, like his depiction of the reluctance of Palestinians to talk about why there are almost no Christian Palestinians left (spoiler alert: it's not so much because of the occupation). But his self-righteous humor that borders on biased journalism is a red flag for me, and a reader who doesn't know anything about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not start with this book to get a well-rounded educated. Take it as a partly funny, partly depressing read and an additional source of information that you have to be discerning about.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Trinity

    Very well done. I experienced SO many of the same things while here for a month traveling around Jerusalem and West Bank. This book was really well-written and insightful though very confusing.... No matter what, God is in charge of the Holy Land and will take care of all his people.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Line

    Argh. I don't even know what to say. I expected this book to give a funny take om the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (blaergh!) And it did. But I'm left feeling sad, scared and hopeless. A must read for anyone! Argh. I don't even know what to say. I expected this book to give a funny take om the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (blaergh!) And it did. But I'm left feeling sad, scared and hopeless. A must read for anyone!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    I loved this book. I've lived in Israel for 29 years and Tuvia's the first author who expresses my delight with the place and exasperation with people from abroad whose livelihoods depend on the conflict: scholars, journalists, NGO employees, and volunteers. His writing is sardonic , entertaining, and educational, but you must have a sense of humor to appreciate it. I loved this book. I've lived in Israel for 29 years and Tuvia's the first author who expresses my delight with the place and exasperation with people from abroad whose livelihoods depend on the conflict: scholars, journalists, NGO employees, and volunteers. His writing is sardonic , entertaining, and educational, but you must have a sense of humor to appreciate it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marty Fried

    This was fairly interesting, with good humor, and I learned a bit, but it's starting to drag. Too much of the same thing, I think. I'm bored with it, but maybe one day I'll read more. This was fairly interesting, with good humor, and I learned a bit, but it's starting to drag. Too much of the same thing, I think. I'm bored with it, but maybe one day I'll read more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mati Rachamim

    My review A very interesting book that help to open your eyes about the situation in Israel and all the “small” lies we tell ourselves and the one we have been told . The author is not agreeing to accept everything that has been told for him without questioning the “facts” and keep on asking some simple questions that help to clear the picture. I think the author should have also not have used in so many times stupid sexist remarks that really does not contribute anything to the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vasyl Pasternak

    Unexpectedly interesting and easy read. I can't say it clarified me how Israelis live, but it uncovered a hidden complexity of modern politics on Middle East. Worth read to everyone who thinks that conflicts could be solved easy. Unexpectedly interesting and easy read. I can't say it clarified me how Israelis live, but it uncovered a hidden complexity of modern politics on Middle East. Worth read to everyone who thinks that conflicts could be solved easy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tamar Nagel

    I was shocked to learn I had ordered this book way back in 2018, and somehow only felt the urge to read it today, FINALLY. I greedily devoured it over the day, and anyone even remotely curious about Israel or Jewish people should read this book. It is a very humorous and sane approach to a conflict that is anything but, and a story that feels personal for me as I was living in and exploring Israel at the time this author was doing his research. That funeral he writes about? I was there, it was m I was shocked to learn I had ordered this book way back in 2018, and somehow only felt the urge to read it today, FINALLY. I greedily devoured it over the day, and anyone even remotely curious about Israel or Jewish people should read this book. It is a very humorous and sane approach to a conflict that is anything but, and a story that feels personal for me as I was living in and exploring Israel at the time this author was doing his research. That funeral he writes about? I was there, it was my birthday, and as a pious newly minted 18 year old, I felt conflicted about a great rabbi dying on my birthday, felt far too guilty to celebrate with a few friends as planned, so I went to get nearly crushed among ~850,000 thousand people squeezing into a few blocks and fighting for spaces closest to the megaphones blaring incomprehensible eulogies along with a great deal of static. We had water thrown on us by a pregnant woman who was aiming for some men who had shoved past her (and us) to get closer to the megaphones, my friend had a panic attack in the crowd and I fought our way out of there and sat down at a restaurant and got pancakes with her. It was a memorable experience. I laughed a lot, and reflected a lot, because many of the experiences he writes about hit home for me. I've gotten lost in many a Twitter rabbit hole or comments on online articles that are rife with anti-Semitism. Half of those are decrying those who "weaponize" anti-Semitism [by falsely accusing people of Jew hatred, thus discrediting them] which at a glance deeper, are nearly always from people whose Jew hatred is right there in the open. Often I choose to be a little naive, a little dumb, and stay hopeful, believe the best in humanity. I love the irony so present in every chapter of this book, and the honest questions it asks. It was a #1 bestseller in Israel, but do you think anyone in the ICRC or the UNRWA, or even the entire UN would read it and laugh with it? God, people love to take themselves so seriously, and self-proclaimed "human rights activists" are the worst of them. Overall, a highly enjoyable and enlightening read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shifra ♕

    Chronicle of a romp through Israel One of the best approaches to a very delicate topic and truly a fine example of Oscar Wilde's famous quote incarnate, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." This is a work that has the ability to provoke fits of laughter so potent your sides ache, whilst also evoking deep introspection. Though I only lived in Israel three years, I found it to my extent of experience that it nailed the vibrant portrayals of the vari Chronicle of a romp through Israel One of the best approaches to a very delicate topic and truly a fine example of Oscar Wilde's famous quote incarnate, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." This is a work that has the ability to provoke fits of laughter so potent your sides ache, whilst also evoking deep introspection. Though I only lived in Israel three years, I found it to my extent of experience that it nailed the vibrant portrayals of the varied people you will find in the holy land. This is truly a great read no matter where you find yourself on the issue- with a strong opinion or with little to none- you can still enjoy it as Tuvia does his best to share all perspectives in an unbiased & humorous fashion. Tuvia makes for an incredibly witty, charming, and intrepid guide to follow. I often find myself reaching for my copy and rereading favorite passages; I can't recommend this enough.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This book is a 'comical tragedy'. The author talks to people of varied walks of life, while not impersonating himself, does not identify himself either. So most deal with him as if he is a German Gentile, and open their doors to him and give him their open opinions. He in fact is a Jew, native of Israel and raised in a very religious family. Very interesting !!! The narrative and the encounters are very insightful and many times funny. The end could very well reduce you to tears of sadness...... This book is a 'comical tragedy'. The author talks to people of varied walks of life, while not impersonating himself, does not identify himself either. So most deal with him as if he is a German Gentile, and open their doors to him and give him their open opinions. He in fact is a Jew, native of Israel and raised in a very religious family. Very interesting !!! The narrative and the encounters are very insightful and many times funny. The end could very well reduce you to tears of sadness.....................

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