Understanding Israel

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KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1994 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 144 pages
Gr 5-7-This glossy, oversized volume provides a highly pictorial overview of the modern state from its beginnings in Palestine up to the present. Scharfstein describes the land and peoples of Israel, its history, government, culture, economy, archaeology, and religion. The country's role in the politics, powerplays, and wars of the Middle East are also summarized. The author explains why, after so many years of negotiations, the Arab countries are now willing to sign peace agreements. The writing is straightforward with brief declarative sentences and from one to two pages devoted to a topic. Maps, diagrams, and full-color and black-and-white photos and reproductions appear throughout. This publisher formerly published Amos Elon's Understanding Israel (1976), and Scharfstein's book appears to be an adaptation and update of it. David Bamberger's A Young Person's History of Israel (1985; both Behrman) is for slightly older audiences. It is written in a flowing narrative that discusses, rather than outlines, the topics and editorializes more than this book, which strives to be objective.-Marcia Posner, Federation of New York and the Jewish Book Council, New York City.

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Understanding Israel is a challenge that Scharfstein (The Story Haggadah, not reviewed, etc.) meets admirably. This mini- encyclopedia takes us from the history of the Jewish people in the time of the ... Read full review


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