Fences and Neighbors: A Story of Friendship Across the Divide


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Gwen Ackerman, a veteran American-Israeli journalist, discusses her debut novel, “Goddess of Battle,” a story of an unlikely friendship between two women, a Jewish-American immigrant to Israel and a Palestinian.

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This season of the Tel Aviv Review is made possible by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, which promotes humanistic, democratic, and liberal values in the social discourse in Israel.

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One comment on “Fences and Neighbors: A Story of Friendship Across the Divide

  1. Greg Pollock says:

    On the question of politics shaping micro, individual acts, I think that all world views are somewhat crazy. Mostly the craziness is contained, perhaps self neutralized, some bits of the world view nullifying others which could go crazy. But containment is not insured, and sometimes what we later identify as crazy becomes dominant, essential, imperative, natural. At that point individual motivation merges with the world view gone askew. It happens more than we want to say, I think. People starving themselves for God, all by themselves, isolated, no media known or knowing. Does God notice, or is God just in our minds? Children imprisoned by the fears of their parents. So many more.

    I think our instant media lets this skewing happen more often than before. We walk down the streets seeing a world made real by commentary on our radios, on our social media screens. Craziness is getting more common, more easily manifest; indeed, our comedy holds that it is everywhere among our enemies. This is not to say violence will be an outcome; but lost acquaintances, isolated nights, robot days, reality tv played for real, and belief that laughing at someone or something gives control over the world, become expectation.

    Novels short circuit this. One listens closely to an author, mediates on their words, while the act of imaginative reading also distances us from the writer; we can ask why they wrote so without being forced into public affirmations or condemnations. Public too readily becomes a merging with others, fear of being targeted by error or laughter defining views. Soon the public is just in our heads. Fiction can release us from this. The writer gives never knowing when and where the gift is received.

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