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We Just Want to Live Here: A Palestinian Teenager, an Israeli Teenager--An Unlikely Friendship

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Palestinian Amal Rifa'i and Israeli Odelia Ainbinder are two teenage girls who live in the same city, yet worlds apart. They met on a student exchange program to Switzerland. Weeks after they returned, the latest, violent Intifada broke out in the fall of 2000. But two years later, Middle East correspondent Sylke Tempel encouraged Amal and Odelia to develop their friendshi Palestinian Amal Rifa'i and Israeli Odelia Ainbinder are two teenage girls who live in the same city, yet worlds apart. They met on a student exchange program to Switzerland. Weeks after they returned, the latest, violent Intifada broke out in the fall of 2000. But two years later, Middle East correspondent Sylke Tempel encouraged Amal and Odelia to develop their friendship by facilitating an exchange of their deepest feelings through letters. In their letters, Amal and Odelia discuss the Intifada, their families, traditions, suicide bombers, and military service. They write frankly of their anger, frustrations, and fear, but also of their hopes and dreams for a brighter future. Together, Amal and Odelia give us a renewed sense of hope for peace in the Middle East.


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Palestinian Amal Rifa'i and Israeli Odelia Ainbinder are two teenage girls who live in the same city, yet worlds apart. They met on a student exchange program to Switzerland. Weeks after they returned, the latest, violent Intifada broke out in the fall of 2000. But two years later, Middle East correspondent Sylke Tempel encouraged Amal and Odelia to develop their friendshi Palestinian Amal Rifa'i and Israeli Odelia Ainbinder are two teenage girls who live in the same city, yet worlds apart. They met on a student exchange program to Switzerland. Weeks after they returned, the latest, violent Intifada broke out in the fall of 2000. But two years later, Middle East correspondent Sylke Tempel encouraged Amal and Odelia to develop their friendship by facilitating an exchange of their deepest feelings through letters. In their letters, Amal and Odelia discuss the Intifada, their families, traditions, suicide bombers, and military service. They write frankly of their anger, frustrations, and fear, but also of their hopes and dreams for a brighter future. Together, Amal and Odelia give us a renewed sense of hope for peace in the Middle East.

30 review for We Just Want to Live Here: A Palestinian Teenager, an Israeli Teenager--An Unlikely Friendship

  1. 5 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    This book astonished me. Two teens, one Palestinian and one Israeli, exchanged letters in which they discussed their lives, their political views, their traditions and customs, and more. They often disagreed, especially when discussing politics, but they still remained friends. It was a fascinating and eye-opening dialogue. I learned a lot. I can't imagine what I would have done or how I would have felt if I'd had to enter the army right after high school, as Odelia did. There is so much here th This book astonished me. Two teens, one Palestinian and one Israeli, exchanged letters in which they discussed their lives, their political views, their traditions and customs, and more. They often disagreed, especially when discussing politics, but they still remained friends. It was a fascinating and eye-opening dialogue. I learned a lot. I can't imagine what I would have done or how I would have felt if I'd had to enter the army right after high school, as Odelia did. There is so much here that would make for a great book discussion, especially among high school and college-age students. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    "Wir wollen beide hier leben" ist ein Buch, das eine Journalistin zusammengestellt und angeregt hat, in dem sich zwei Jugendliche aus Jerusalem in Briefen und auch zwei Gesprächen über ihre unterschiedlichen Leben austauschen: denn eine ist israelische Jüdin, die andere Palästinenserin. Das Buch ist von 2002 - und damit schon einige Jahre alt. Das erste Mal habe ich es damals gelesen, als Jugendliche, und muss das Buch daher auch aus zwei verschiedenen Perspektiven bewerten. Damals fand ich es de "Wir wollen beide hier leben" ist ein Buch, das eine Journalistin zusammengestellt und angeregt hat, in dem sich zwei Jugendliche aus Jerusalem in Briefen und auch zwei Gesprächen über ihre unterschiedlichen Leben austauschen: denn eine ist israelische Jüdin, die andere Palästinenserin. Das Buch ist von 2002 - und damit schon einige Jahre alt. Das erste Mal habe ich es damals gelesen, als Jugendliche, und muss das Buch daher auch aus zwei verschiedenen Perspektiven bewerten. Damals fand ich es deutlich besser. Die jugendlichen Perspektiven haben zu mir gesprochen, vor allem Odelias, und mit meinen damaligen Kenntnissen war das hier ziemlich bahnbrechend. Mit Politik oder der Situation in Israel hatte ich mich noch nie groß auseinander gesetzt, allerhöchstens über die Gründung Israels in der Schule gelernt und dass das etwas Gutes war nach dem Holocaust etc etc. In "Wir wollen beide hier leben" gibt es neben den zwei jugendlichen Stimmen und ihren Weltanschauungen und Erfahrungen eine Zeittafel, Karten mit den Aufteilungen Israels zu verschiedenen Zeitpunkten und Zeitungsüberschriften, die hier und da zu den thematischen Kapiteln eingeordnet werden. Man erhält also einen guten Überblick über die Situation um die Jahrtausendwende und wie Amal und Odelia den Konflikt sehen, aber auch wie sie ihr Leben führen. Heute habe ich mich weniger abgeholt gefühlt. Ich finde es immer noch ein gutes Buch als Einstieg für Jugendliche, doch müsste es dringend aktualisiert werden, wenn es auch heute zu jugendlichen Lesern sprechen soll. Auch ich hätte gern eine aktualisiertere Zeittafel, auch wenn ich in den letzten fast 20 Jahren selbst einiges an Zeitung gelesen habe und mich informiert. Dennoch ist so ein Konflikt schwer zu überblicken und auch etwas traurig, dass sich da nicht viel getan hat. Die Hoffnungen, die gerade eine sehr optimistische und weltverbessernde Odelia sieht, hat sich leider noch nicht erfüllt und der Konflikt besteht nach wie vor. Mir waren bei der wiederholten Lektüre die Briefe ein wenig zu kurz und wenig eingeordnet. Gerade dann, wenn die Konflikte auftauchen, enden die Briefe, weil dann vermutlich das Buch zusammengestellt wurde. Oder es sind Amal und Odelia, die sich zu vielen Themen irgendwann nichts mehr zu sagen haben, was ebenso schade wäre. Ich konnte dennoch einiges lernen, auch wenn ich es heute sehr viel distanzierter und kritischer betrachtet habe. Dass z.B. viele Palästinenser gar keinen israelischen Pass besitzen und wie schwer ihr Leben in Israel dadurch wird. Wie sehr das Leben der jüdischen Israelis dem westlichen ähnelt. Der Blick auf die israelische Armee, den Odelia auch vor ihrer eigenen Zeit gibt, ist noch sehr verklärend, aber auch erklärend. Und es macht nachdenklich, wenn sie etwa behauptet, dass die israelische Armee vermutlich moralischer ist als Freiwilligen-Armeen, wo nur die Rechten oder Extremen sich verpflichten, weil alle anderen es ja nicht müssen. Da mir aus westlicher Sicht Odelias Sicht sehr viel zugänglicher war als Amals, finde ich es etwas schade, dass hier nicht mehr redaktionell eingegriffen wurde, schließlich ist das Buch in Deutschland erschienen und diesen Bias werden viele der Leser haben. Amals Welt und ihre Werte und Vorstellungen wirken auf mich ebenso fremd wie auf Odelia und dass dann die verschiedenen Meinungen irgendwann abbrechen, fand ich ziemlich befremdlich. Alles in allem aber für die Zielgruppe - vor allem zur Zeit des Erscheinens - ein sehr gutes Buch als Einstieg in den Konflikt, in die Region und verschiedenen Sichtweisen.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    The premise for this book is amazing. The honesty, sometimes scarily haunting, between these two girls, tells the reader more than the news will ever be able to impart. I felt the book's weakness stemmed from the writer/editor who allowed the exchange to happen. She could have done a much better job--especially for a young adult audience--of helping the reader to understand the politics of the area, i.e. who is who, the place names and their significance, etc. The glossary was somewhat helpful; The premise for this book is amazing. The honesty, sometimes scarily haunting, between these two girls, tells the reader more than the news will ever be able to impart. I felt the book's weakness stemmed from the writer/editor who allowed the exchange to happen. She could have done a much better job--especially for a young adult audience--of helping the reader to understand the politics of the area, i.e. who is who, the place names and their significance, etc. The glossary was somewhat helpful; the chronology necessary. But a stronger introduction of where these girls come from BEFORE one reads their stories would have made the impact of the book even greater.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    This book is full of great information and insight. As it is basically a conversation between teenagers living in very different worlds but within the same city, it is enlightening. I did find it difficult to stay engaged for long periods of time so I would read a letter and then set it down until the next day. It’s not the kind of book that you read to find out what will happen next but it definitely educated you to the perspectives of individuals on both sides of this difficult situation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ಥ_ಥ

    It's interesting but not exciting. I do think it's an important book to read when starting to learn about the Palestine-Isreal conflict. It felt weird to read it, like I wasn't suppose to read those conversations. It's interesting but not exciting. I do think it's an important book to read when starting to learn about the Palestine-Isreal conflict. It felt weird to read it, like I wasn't suppose to read those conversations.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I love the concept. But it could have used some editing to limit some of the repetition.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maria Ferraro

    It is a really strong punch from the first beggining. Since the page one this book makes you open your eyes into a whole world that sometimes it is too far away to take it with the serious that it deserve. I learned a lot about Israel that I didn't know and I found the opinions of Amal and Odelia interesting. Outside of their cultural and political differences, they are very different personalities. Reading on wikipedia about Israel was that I could understand a little more of the book, I had many It is a really strong punch from the first beggining. Since the page one this book makes you open your eyes into a whole world that sometimes it is too far away to take it with the serious that it deserve. I learned a lot about Israel that I didn't know and I found the opinions of Amal and Odelia interesting. Outside of their cultural and political differences, they are very different personalities. Reading on wikipedia about Israel was that I could understand a little more of the book, I had many doubts about how Israel is started, if it was a country that was conquered lands or. Thats why I didn't give it 5 stars to the book. It is really hard to take It seems very ugly and very cruel that even in the century in which we live in Israel are looking for ways to totally dominate Palestinian regardless of religion that these people. It is very difficult to take a side, I think the principal mistake was that Israel was looking for a good of a community with war, attacking another, avoiding the words. I really like it because it opened my eyes completly about what so many people is living so far away and so close st the same time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    The entire title (which isn't listed) is We Just Want to Live Here: A Palestinian Teenager, An Israeli Teenager - An Unlikely Friendship from amazon.com: The two authors, now 18, met in Switzerland during an exchange program in 2000, and returned to a Jerusalem soon gripped by the second intifada. After falling out of touch, they exchanged the letters collected in this book from August to November of 2002, cycling through anguish, accusation, artifice, allowance, appreciation-all of the beginnings The entire title (which isn't listed) is We Just Want to Live Here: A Palestinian Teenager, An Israeli Teenager - An Unlikely Friendship from amazon.com: The two authors, now 18, met in Switzerland during an exchange program in 2000, and returned to a Jerusalem soon gripped by the second intifada. After falling out of touch, they exchanged the letters collected in this book from August to November of 2002, cycling through anguish, accusation, artifice, allowance, appreciation-all of the beginnings of real friendship. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I enjoyed this book & I think others would too. I learned a lot about Israel that I didn't know and I found the opinions of Amal and Odelia interesting. Outside of their cultural and political differences, they are very different personalities. I thought the history given by family members was also interesting. Thoughtfully, the author has included historical maps and a glossary of Hebrew and Arabic words to help the reader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I was intrigued by the idea of an Israeli teenager and a Palestinian teenager sharing letters about their completely different lives in the same city (Jerusalem), but the book didn't thrill me. Neither 18-year-old revealed much passion about anything, and there was more passive aggressive bickering about politics in their letters than details about their daily lives and struggles. I was intrigued by the idea of an Israeli teenager and a Palestinian teenager sharing letters about their completely different lives in the same city (Jerusalem), but the book didn't thrill me. Neither 18-year-old revealed much passion about anything, and there was more passive aggressive bickering about politics in their letters than details about their daily lives and struggles.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dowden straley

    Great idea. Tried three times but couldn't get into it. Great idea. Tried three times but couldn't get into it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Gomes

    Muy interesante. Las distintas religiones y culturas... y las guerras por el poder. Recomendado.

  12. 4 out of 5

    89millionand7

    it was good....

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Sam read this in school for an English unit on persuasive writing. I didn't think that either girl was really persuasive, yet their views were interesting and I learned a lot from this book. Sam read this in school for an English unit on persuasive writing. I didn't think that either girl was really persuasive, yet their views were interesting and I learned a lot from this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Grial

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ana

  17. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

  19. 4 out of 5

    ashly lagarde

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maaike

  22. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Piras

  23. 4 out of 5

    VampwolfWarrior

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natalee

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Valentina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becks

  29. 5 out of 5

    Birgit

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ambra

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