The conflict in cultures between the Arabs and the Israelis is brought to life in the first person accounts, letters, memoirs, and stories of ordinary people caught in the strife. Mired in the tangled past of the history of the region, and fired by the events of the past fifty years, the Arab-Israeli conflict must be viewed as both a long-standing and a recent development. Against the background of the changes that have characterized that society, Goldscheider, a leading authority on the social history of Israel, examines the perspectives of both sides in the conflict and the impact that it has on the daily lives of families and individuals. Twelve primary source documents give voice to the feelings of ordinary Arabs and Jews who have experienced this conflict in their own lives.
Comprehensive and engagingly written essays on the historical background of the conflict and portraits of the Arab and Jewish communities in Israel and in the diaspora will help the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the struggle that put the first person accounts in historical , social and cultural perspective. The primary documents are organized thematically into sections on ethnic clashes among Jewish immigrants, voices of the new Israeli settlers, voices of the Palestinians, and issues of identity. Students will be able to compare and contrast the points of view and deep feelings of people on both sides of the conflict, which will enrich their appreciation of the complex issues involved in understanding what life is really like for the people of the region. Ideas for exploration will help students and teachers to focus on thematic issues for research papers and class debate. A selection of official documents such as the Declaration of the State of Israel, the Palestinian National Charter, UN Security Council Resolution 242, and the Camp David Accords, plus an annotated bibliography of recommended books and web sites, offer additional reference value.