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29 November 2014

Alan Gold & Mike Jones: Stateless

The battle for the birth of Israel
Alan Gold and Mike Jones have crafted an interesting tale about the fight for the birth of Israel and the ancient history that compelled the Jews to try to return to their heritage.

Shalman Etzion was brought up in a Jewish Kibbutz in Palestine. Judita Ludmilla was raised as a Jew in Moscow under the brutal Stalin regime and came to Israel as a refugee. Both of them met as freedom fighters for the new State of Israel against the occupying British Army and become life partners despite their different backgrounds.

It is the end of WWII and refugees from the Holocaust and from Eastern Europe are frantically trying to find sanctuary in Israel. The fight for a permanent home for the Jews in the State of Israel is a bitter one where Arab and Jewish forces fight the British in an atmosphere of hatred and suspicion. Judit becomes one of the fiercest and most ruthless fighters - her secret is that she has been trained in Russia under Beria's guidance to push for dominance that will give Russia a foothold in the Middle East and a warm water port.

As the troubles escalate Shalman gets a better understanding of  the plight of the Arabs and with an Arab friend starts to explore the fascinating archeology and history of the region and withdraw from the fight for independence. Judit becomes increasingly committed to her cause and more distant from Shalman and their family.

This is a very interesting factional history of the struggle for the foundation of modern Israel. I was distracted by an interwoven theme about the ancient history of the Jews in Israel and the Middle East, with the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, the Islamic influence in Baghdad and the brutal incursion of the Crusaders in the region. While this may be fascinating  history it spoilt the enjoyment of the book for me. My guess it that one of the authors wrote the more contemporary stuff and the other the historical stuff. This time their work didn't fit as seamlessly as it did in Bloodline.

The end of the book when Britain withdraws sets up a situation in the region that has still not been resolved.

Without the distraction of the historical stuff I would have given this book a solid 4 stars but had to downgrade it to 3stars because of the conflict in my mind between the two major themes of the book.

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