The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish-Arab Divide
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The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish-Arab Divide

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The autobiographical story of a British Zionist in her 50s who moves to Israel and - amazed by her Jewish compatriots' ignorance of their Arab neighbours - chooses to live among 25,000 Muslims in the all-Arab Israeli town of Tamra, a few miles from Nazareth.
Paperback, 302 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 2005)
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I was always meaning to write a proper review for this brilliant book because it is one of those books that shape my viewpoint on Israel and the conflict. But I left for Australia shortly after I finished it so never got around to write a review until now. I’d not be writing if it wasn’t for the fact that recently I watched this documentary called Arna’s Children, which greatly upset me. It tells a story of a Jewish woman in Hebron opening a theatre and home for Palestinian children to teach the...more
Like Susan Nathan, I am also a Jewish woman raised in the Diaspora to believe that Israel could do no wrong. Unlike the author I do not have immediate family members who escaped or were murdered during the Holocaust.

My parents' generation lives with the guilt that they should have done more to help their European brethren, and our post war clergy reinforced this collective guilt by encouraging my parents' generation to have large families (replacing murdered souls) and contribute heavily to Isae...more
I had a friend one time refer to a “pluralistic multi-cultural” level of development that only 10% of the world population achieves. I thought about this ability to look to something greater than ourselves as I was reading Susan Nathan’s “The Other Side of Israel”.

Nathan is a Jew who used her “Right of Return” under Israeli law to move to Israel and become an Israeli citizen. Having been born in England, she was a part of the Diaspora that felt out of place. From an early age she had been indoct...more
Ghada Arafat
Wooooooooooooooooooo. A must read.
Now that I have some time to write my impression on the book, I have to say that it is a really strong book. It talks about something that only minority of people dare to talk about. Actually, I believe that one of the benefits of occupation to Israel is to keep peoples attention away from the raciest Israeli practices against its Palestinian minority.
I know that for outsiders the amount of stories and facts may seem over-exaggerated, but as most of my husbands...more
Feb 12, 2013 Steph rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steph by: Donna
Fantastic. Everyone should read this book. EVERYONE.
Well, this was a remarkable book. Before I write about it, let me make a few disclaimers and comments. First, I am not Jewish although the family I married into has a Holocaust history and some connections with Israel, albeit dissipated over the years. Second, I am a Christian, but I am an Episcopalian and not of the fundamentalist persuasion that believes that the Bible requires support of Israel. Third, I do not believe that it is rational or justifiable to claim historical land now as the hei...more
Natalie *Amberjune*
The book reads a bit like a compendium of injustice done by Israeli to the Palestinian people which can sometimes be a bit dragging. The author seems emotionally engaged and that's probably why she paints a black/white picture and, as other reviewers have already pointed out, the book is one-sided.

Nonetheless, it does raise a lot of important questions/issues and has been a real eye-opener for me.

Towards the end of the book Susan's on another visit to a Palestinian family and as she listens to...more
I picked up this book as it looked like it would be very interesting to read. Insider-stories such as this one usually give an account of life-on-the-ground that is not always portrayed in the mainstream media, and I was interested in this new viewpoint.

My fascination with the Middle-East has a lot to do with its religious history, and a lot to do with its people. This means *all* people, which is why this book appealed to me.

The writer, Susan Nathan is a Jew and a former ardent Zionist who mov...more
This book is one-sided! Duh! Of course it is! It is titled “the Other Side of Israel”, it’s supposed to be shedding the light on “a” side of Israel that is not really spoken of.
But for many Arab readers, this might be the only side of Israel ever known.

Yet, the book was useful in the sense of giving faces to voices. The voices we’ve heard while we were growing up telling us about the cause, the stolen land in the 1948 Nakba, the discrimination practised by the State of Israel even against cert...more
Do not be deceived by the kumbaya introduction to this book -- her goal is not really to show that Jews and Arabs can be friends, but in fact to disprove the simplistic notion that the only problem in Jewish-Arab relations is as superficial and hippie-dippie as misunderstanding. And co-existence supporters and those in favor of dialogue groups had better listen up; so long as there are vast resource inequalities and racist laws, holding hands will get us nowhere.

Susan Nathan's book is an excelle...more
Jewish author Susan Nathan, a born-and-bred Zionist, moved from London to Tel Aviv in her 50s when she took up the Law of Return – a policy enabling Jews from around the world to relocate to, and make Israel their home. Soon after arriving, she discovered things were not the way she thought (or was taught) they’d be – there was more to Israel’s wealth and power than meets the eye. Her subsequent decision to abandon the comforts of Tel Aviv to live with her new family in Tamra, an Arab town withi...more
THis one started off slow, but ultimately was engrossing. I have been seeking to understand that Arab/Israeli conflict, and she provides an excellent summary of the history and context that guides life there. Ultimately it's a really sad story...heartbreaking that one group who has suffered so much will turn around and inflict oppressive laws on another group. Not to be flip, but it reminds me of the theme of Orwell's Animal Farm.

I've read reviews where people accuse Susan Nathan of leaving out...more
Mihir & Sucharita
One of my first purchases in US ....Ordered on Amazon. I had always wanted to read on Israel-Palestine conflict , but the huge academic nature of books kept me away.
This was definitely different.
The author - a Jew raised In UK -- goes to Israel to 'settle down' and is shocked and disappointed at the way Israel functions and discriminates against non-Jews.
The author's first hand experience does help and I am definitely a fan of easy reading.
I personally never understood and appreciated the idea o...more
Carey f
This book is a must read!

While the author's writing is at times difficult to digest, there are a lot of facts presented that are very important in beginning to understand Israel's history and politics.

It can also be annoying to read how accusatory the author can be. You must read the book with an open mind, as she generally says things in a way that are not empathetic (and she demonstrates how time and time again people respond to her with defense).

That said, she really breaks down things in a w...more
Essential reading for anyone wanting to scratch the surface of the Israel Palestine conflict. Nathan, a reformed Zionist, tracks her formative years growing up under the spell of the Zionist ideology up until the time she undertook the 'Aliye' (the law of return).
She exposes the theocratic way that the state of Israel is run, and racist bureaucracy & repressive domestic policy all designed to disconnect Palestinians living within Israel both from the state and from their cultural identity as...more
This was an interesting read. Susan Nathan is the only Jew living in an Arab town in Israel. She moved to Israel from London and immediately received Israeli citizenship because she is Jewish. After living in Israel for a while, she became distressed with the treatment Israeli Arabs receive at the hands of Israeli Jews who control everything. This was an eye-opening book, but it did seem that as the story progressed, Ms. Nathan became more and more one-sided in her viewpoint.
While this book is interesting and covers a topic few cover, I couldn't finish it. Nathan was overzealous, in my opinion, in trying to prove her point. The book is very, very one-sided and Nathan paints a nasty picture of all Israeli Jews and Israel itself.
Whether all of her criticisms are true or not remains a moot point. What does matter is that this reads like a hatred of the Israeli government with no solutions or even want for a solution.
Elizabeth R
This is an excellent and eye-opening book. A must-read for anyone interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history behind it. The author is a Jew who emigrates to Israel and ends up moving to an Arab town. It's the story of her experience and the racism and oppression she sees towards the Arabs. Anyone who is pro-Israel may now find themselves re-examining their perspective... Very thought-provoking and sobering.
This book really shed some light on the issues in the Middle East for me. I must admit I was very ignorant to most of these facts. The book left such an impression on me- especially that the problems in the Middle East are way beyond anything that most of us could even comprehend.
Nicki Nelson
Interesting experience and insight....more on political issues in Israel, than on travel and culture, but it was an interesting read and I learned a lot that I didn't know.
Mohamed Seada

it is not strange to know that one fifth of isrlaeis are arab muslims , but it is good to know more about their life in the state of israel
Very eye opening book. Really provide some insight as to what palestinian refugees are going through. Definitely has moved me personally.
A very eye-opening read. A side to Israel that I believe should be talked about more in the US.
Elina R
Learnt some things I really didn't know, deeply touched by this book
Gary Sims
Gary Sims marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2014
Higgity marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2014
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Susan Nathan is a British-born Israeli writer.

Susan Nathan was born in England to a Jewish family. Whilst young Nathan visited friends and family in the apartheid-era South Africa where her father was born. There she had several encounters with the social and political situation in that country.

When she returned to London she became an AIDS counselor.

She divorced and, in 1999, once her children ha...more
More about Susan Nathan...
Israel Atmavanchanakalude Puravritham

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“Ghetto living is more than just a feeling of confinement; it is a sense of suffocation too.” 3 likes
“Although I have always rejected this fear of the other, and the racism that it inevitably fuels, I have learned from experience that it is a deeply rooted need in the human psyche. at the slightest provocation we will put distance between ourselves and those we cannot or do not want to understand” 2 likes
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