Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein HaleviNew York Times bestseller
A profound and original book, the work of a gifted thinker.--Daphne Merkin, The Wall Street Journal
Attempting to break the agonizing impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli commentator and award-winning author of Like Dreamers directly addresses his Palestinian neighbors in this taut and provocative book, empathizing with Palestinian suffering and longing for reconciliation as he explores how the conflict looks through Israeli eyes.
I call you neighbor because I don’t know your name, or anything personal about you. Given our circumstances, neighbor might be too casual a word to describe our relationship. We are intruders into each other’s dream, violators of each other’s sense of home. We are incarnations of each other’s worst historical nightmares. Neighbors?
Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is one Israeli’s powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians and into the hearts of the enemy. In a series of letters, Yossi Klein Halevi explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East.
This is the first attempt by an Israeli author to directly address his Palestinian neighbors and describe how the conflict appears through Israeli eyes. Halevi untangles the ideological and emotional knot that has defined the conflict for nearly a century. In lyrical, evocative language, he unravels the complex strands of faith, pride, anger and anguish he feels as a Jew living in Israel, using history and personal experience as his guide.
Halevi’s letters speak not only to his Palestinian neighbor, but to all concerned global citizens, helping us understand the painful choices confronting Israelis and Palestinians that will ultimately help determine the fate of the region.
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I find this an admirable goal. But reading your words, I wonder how aware you are of what our feelings are on the other side. It is our ignorance of your history and religion and attachment to the land that you seek to correct here. Over the years I myself have made serious attempts to come closer to my Israeli neighbors, to form friendships and appreciate their worldviews, and many of my books have been translated and published in Israel. But it seems the wrong question when all most of us wish is for Israel to withdraw from the territories it has occupied and leave us to go on with our lives. I was involved in the Oslo negotiations and I can tell you that Israel shares plenty of responsibility for their failure.
Dear Yossi Your book is a lyrical, valiant, well-written, faith-based attempt to set out the case for Israel. For Jews these are well-rehearsed arguments, but I thought your idea of addressing a…. Read More. Dear Yossi, First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to read this book and write my thoughts about it. After having read your book I found it to be valuable an important. You, the….
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A little over a year ago, I wrote a lengthy interview on these pages with the author and Shalom Hartman Institute fellow Yossi Klein Halevi. It was an ambitious book with a still more ambitious intended sequel, especially in these dark and hostile times. His hope, Klein Halevi said last year, was that our Palestinian neighbors would respond to his overture, and write back with their own counter-arguments — not to spark an intellectual battle to the death, but, rather, to facilitate a mutually empowering dialogue: each side would learn more about the other, creating an interaction between writers that, who knows, might one day help facilitate greater political awareness and the possibility of reconciliation. And none more so than a Palestinian academic named Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, whose name may ring a bell with some readers. For it was Dajani, five years ago, who led a group of 27 Palestinian students on an unprecedented visit to Auschwitz — with all manner of abiding, shattering consequences.
Register for the "Letters" Book Club and receive study resources for Yossi's book. This ambitious work is an attempt to offer a new language for peace at a time when conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is escalating and a solution seems impossible. With 10 lyrical and provocative letters, Halevi is the first Israeli author to directly address Palestinians in an attempt to explain how the conflict appears through Israeli eyes. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor relaunches narratives about the Middle East at a historic juncture, making it an essential read for the present and for years to come. About Us. Ways to Support the Institute. Board of Directors.