Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor (Paperback)
Harper Perennial, 9780062844927, 288pp.
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
New York Times bestseller
Now with a new Epilogue, containing letters of response from Palestinian readers.
"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. And now, in a brand-new Epilogue, Palestinian readers have been given a chance to respond through their own powerful letters.
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. The paperback edition also includes a brand-new Epilogue, containing heartfelt letters of response from a variety of Palestinian readers.
About the Author
Yossi Klein Halevi is an American-born writer who has lived in Jerusalem since 1982. He is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and the author of At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land and Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, which won the Jewish Book Council's Everett Family Book of the Year Award for Best Jewish Book in 2013. Together with Imam Abdullah Antelpi of Duke University, he co-directs the Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative. He and his wife, Sarah, have three children.
Praise For Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor…
— Tablet Magazine
“By providing an honest, soulful and balanced recap of two emotional narratives, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor has given us a spiritual roadmap, if not to peace, then at least to hope.”
— Jewish Journal
“A clarion call, not to arms but to empathy…a profound and original book, the work of a gifted thinker…[an] urgent and heartfelt message.”
— Daphne Merkin, Wall Street Journal
“One of the best one-volume introductions to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
— Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
“Refreshingly honest...In explaining Israel to the Palestinians, [Halevi] appeals to a certain ideal, a higher ambition, a sense of wonder and beauty.”
— The Forward
“I was enlightened by the extraordinary insights that filled page after page, often on topics I thought I knew quite well. I was also moved by the haunting beauty of the superbly crafted language, by the many passages that speak to my deepest yearnings, and especially by coming to know better the extraordinary soul of the author.”
“Eloquent and important.”
— Jewish Boston
“Yossi Klein Halevi wants to extend an olive branch to his Palestinian neighbors, and does so, in his incredibly compelling and heartfelt book Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.”
— Jerusalem Post
“A powerful, challenging, and deeply moving plea for human understanding across one of the most tragic divides in modern politics.”
— Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
“Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor conveys the urgency and poetry of the Israeli story in a way that is accessible to any reader. I hope everyone will read these beautiful letters—Palestinians and Jews and anyone else interested in understanding who the Jews are and why we returned home.”
— Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive, Jewish Agency for Israel
“A poetic and moving account…heartfelt, empathetic.”
— Publishers Weekly