Posted by: austend | Friday, March 7, 2008

O Jerusalem!

I am in the midst of reading one of the most captivating books I have ever undertaken. It is O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre. It is a “historical fiction” book that is based on the events of the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. It is so historically rich that it could easily be a textbook, but it is so easy to read that it makes learning history all the more enjoyable.
There are several fascinating aspects to the first 200 pages that I have read of it (it is a ~600 page read), but I will mention only one for now. The tragic, needless violence that characterizes the Middle East we all know today is no different than it was in 1948. As the Jews prepared to establish their state as the British were leaving, and as the Arabs prepared to stop the Jews from establishing a nation, terrorist violence was grossly widespread. There were bombings and shootings every single day and night it seems. The grave tragedy of this week in Jerusalem with a Palestinian terrorist shooting and killing 8 yeshiva students is no different from what was happening 60 years ago there. It is a sad testament that nothing can bring peace–not even time. Only the Lord Jesus Christ’s return will bring ultimate, lasting peace.
Another indispensable value to reading this book is that it reminds the reader of how great a price was paid for the modern Jewish nation. The state of Israel was not handed to the Jews on a silver platter. They purchased it at a bitterly high cost with the blood of the finest of their generation. Lest you take Israel for granted, give this book a read and find out what it took to get a state for the Jewish people.
On a scale of 1 to 10 for a must-read list, this ranks a 9 in my book. READ IT!!!


  1. Austen,
    Another feature of this book that I appreciated was that it gave me a more balanced look at the conflict. As you will find in coming pages, atrocities were performed on both sides. There is a phrase in this issue (“one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist”) that speaks to making sure you consider the interests of both sides. Also, this impresses the point that just being the weaker side does not make you innocent (the converse we are seeing today…except people believe that being weaker automatically makes you oppressed).

    I would agree with your sentiment; I could not put this book down.

    We should also remember that the prince of peace is bringing peace to individuals in the midst of the violent stalemate, and some are laboring for this. I have often heard preachers say that there will be no peace in the region until the prince of peace comes. I agree with this statement also think that this statement does harm. It causes people to disengage from having compassion on the people who are dying now without Jesus. We need to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters who are giving their lives to bring news of the prince of peace to the yeshiva student or the arab family or secular israeli.

    Roinu v’dabarnu Meno etmol, haya hazman hamiyuchad!

  2. Good to see you blogging again, Austen!

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