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Batya Casper

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Israela
by Batya Casper   

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Books by Batya Casper
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Category: 

Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Tate Publishing & Enterprises ISBN-10:  1617778281 Type: 
Pages: 

380

Copyright:  August 15, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781617778285
Fiction

Israela is a story of three women and their loved ones torn apart in a country at war. It is about love, secrets and betrayal; but also about hope and heroism, about Arabs saving Jews and Jews healing Arabs; about a family desperately seeking the right path.

Price: $7.99 (eBook)
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www.Israelathebook.com

In Israel, the lives of three women interweave with the story of their country. Ratiba, an Israeli journalist, turns her back on her heritage to marry an Israeli Arab. Her sister Orit, an actor, lives alone and exacts revenge on her sister. Elisheva is a nurse who dedicates her life to the wounded and the dying. As their lives unfold, these  women and their loved-ones face choices they would never have envisioned.

Here, the ancient pulsates in present time and the biblical holds prominence with the secular. Beneath this modern-day drama unfolds the story of a land and its citizens, revealing the historical trajectory of two peoples, victims and perpetrators of a biblical curse.

I started writing this book for my children. Originally, I wanted to trace the trajectory of modern Israeli history in order to see how we’d arrived at our present reality. I also wrote it for the many people I meet who are ignorant of the complexity and the richness of Israel and Israeli life; ignorant of the temerity that all of its citizens demonstrate, and of the excruciating concerns that tear them apart on a constant basis. I am aware that this is only a perspective, my perspective, perhaps the perspective of many like myself; that it is one side of a conflict that originated way back in prehistorical times. It is perhaps an apologia, perhaps simply a call out there to those of legitimate opposing views, people of a different historical and cultural background who want peace. Perhaps this is a prayer for understanding, for dialogue. In fact, it is mostly a work of fiction, of fantasy, ultimately – of hope.


Excerpt

There they are, near the litter and the garbage cans outside the back stage door: Of course! Ibrahim, my sister's husband, and the singing uncle I met at his wedding. My first instinct is to rush back into the theater, to hide until they leave. But catastrophic thoughts are pounding with my blood into my head. "What's wrong?" I ask him. "Has something happened to Ruti?"



Professional Reviews

Fresh and essential outlook
This perceptive, poignant novel offers a fresh and essential outlook on Israel. With memorable characters and an abundance of drama, Israela is gripping reading.
Lou Aronica, New York Times bestselling author.


Merle Carrus, The New Hampshire Jewish Reporter
Israel becomes a character in the story as we follow the lives of three women growing up in Israel after the countrys independence in 1948. In this beautifully written book by Dr. Batya Casper (Tate Publishing, 2011), we explore the debate between the Israelis and the Arabs as they struggle to live side by side. Casper presents each sides p.o.v through womens eyes making me really feel I was in their shoes as they try to figure out how to live in peace. It helped me realize why, after all this time, the Arabs and Israelis cannot get along. Her descriptions are poignant, and her viewpoint is objective.

Sit in Israeli coffee houses and walk along the beaches...
experience life as it is today while listening to voices from the past.

Our main characters are Orit, a child rescued from the Holocaust and brought to Israel, then adopted by parents who are sympathetic to the idea of Arabs and Israelis co-existing happily; her half-sister Ruti, also known by the Arab name Ratiba, who takes this idea so much to heart that she marries an Israeli Arab and hides the fact that she is Jewish from him and his family; and their cousin, Elisheva, who comes to Israel as Allison, and as an adult works in a hospital caring for the sick and the dying.

Ruti's son, Hamzah spends his army service searching through Arab homes looking for explosives and suicide bombers. He says, There was never a time I didn't find them. The tragedy is that in the long term, when they wake in the middle of the night to see the evil Israeli soldiers in uniform in their home, their guns at the ready, they look into our eyes, and I know that at that very moment I have created a second generation of suicide bombers.

Casper also brings to life the character of the State of Israel so that, between the chapters of the story, we hear from Israela herself. These sections are written in italics, and it is as though you are listening in to her private thoughts. At one point she says, It was not me who first separated Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau. That would be far beyond my abilities. Do the stories of their Bible not clearly warn them how not behave? What not to repeat? Why dont they see that? It was not I who misinterpreted the Koran into an imperative for murder. Would Allah not have preferred his people to live in peace? Does Elokim, my G-d, want anything but peace for His children?... So they have Allah and we have Elokim, and we are at war.

Become immersed in the lies, secrets and alienation

All are trying in their own way to make sense of the world they live in, seeking to deal with the sadness and despair they are experiencing. Elisheva is at the memorial service for her father, thinking back on the synagogue and religion of her youth, and she thinks, I wonder now why loving God is a commandment and why to love your neighbor like yourself is the second most important principle of faith, a rule like not crossing the road on a red light. I wonder why protecting the stranger in our midst is almost as important in the scriptures as honoring our father and our mother, as not coveting our neighbors wife. Because if the strangers in our midst were friendly, we would not need a law to protect them."

In a local book group that read Israela this week, the consensus was that this story reflected the reality of life in Israel, presenting a realistic view of the social history of the country. In the story, the character Orit has a series of dreams interspersed with news bulletins. Casper told me in an interview, All the news bulletins are factual, as are the stories of Arab/Jewish intermarriage. There are, in fact, a growing number of such cases. Casper says that her interest in writing Israela was to show a truly loving relationship between two good people. Other than the actual story line, all of the scenarios in this story are based on fact.


Newswire
ews of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to make headlines all over the world, but what is life really like in Israel for the people who live there? In a recent interview, Atara Orenbouch, a young mother living in an Israeli border town, said that although emergency alarms still go off, the situation has improved. She emphasized however that although the Israeli people in her neighborhood are not being injured physically, they are all injured psychologically and emotionally.

Orenbouch relives the moment when she had 20 seconds to stop her car and decide which of her two young children to take out of the car and into the shelter with her. And deciding whether to save her baby or her three year old is an example of the gut-wrenching choices many Israelis are forced to make every day.

In this tale of everyday people torn and desperately searching for the right path.

In a valiant effort to bring both the temerity and heroism of everyday Israeli citizens into the spotlight, Dr. Batya Casper has written a gripping novel called Israela. Casper wrote the book to bring awareness to the agonizing daily struggles that keep Israeli families on a never-ending emotional roller coaster.

Israela sheds light on the centuries old conflict through the lives of three women in Israel whose daily struggles and moral dilemmas give rare insight into Israeli history and culture. It is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Although Israela gives readers an excellent opportunity to learn more about Israeli history and to experience the beauty and tradition of Israeli culture, it is also about humanity - sisterhood, loyalty, longing for acceptance, and survival.


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Reader Reviews for "Israela"

Reviewed by Steve Kerr 7/11/2014
This is a thought provoking and different sort of book about the

middle east.It views the situation from very personal thoughts from

diverse backgrounds that have become all an integral everyday part of

Israeli life.Many sides who share issues that have the power to

divide but also to unite them
Reviewed by Batya Casper 4/10/2012


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Review of Israela, April, 2012 10/04/2012
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http://www.jewishnh.org/reporter/2012/2012-April.pdf
Israel becomes a character in the story as we follow the lives of three women growing up in Israel after the the counry’s independence in 1948. In this beautifully written book by Dr. Batya Casper (Tate Publishing, 2011), we explore the
debate between the Israelis and the Arabs as they try to live side by side. I found Casper’s way of presenting each side’s view through these women’s eyes really made me feel that I was in their shoes as they try to figure out how to live in peace and why after all this time the Arabs and Israelis cannot find a way to get along. Her descriptions are poignant, and her viewpoint is objective.
Our main characters are Orit, a child rescued from the Holocaust and brought to Israel, then adopted by parents who are sympathetic to the idea of Arabs and Israelis co-existing happily; her half-sister, Ruiti, also known by the Arab name Ratiba, who takes this idea so much to heart that she marries an Israeli Arab and hides the fact that she is Jewish from him and his family; and their cousin, Ellysheva, who comes to Israel as Allison, and as an adult works in a hospital searching through Arab homes look- ing for explosives and suicide bombers. Hamzah says, “The tragedy is that in the long term, when they wake in the middle of the night to see the ‘evil’ Israeli soldiers in uniform in their home, their guns at the ready, they look into our eyes, and I know that at that very moment I have created a second generation of suicide bombers.”
Casper also brings to life the character of the State of Israel, Between chapters of the story we hear from Israela.
These parts are written in italics, and it is like you are listening in to her private thoughts. At one point she says, “It was not me who first separated Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau. That would be far beyond my abilities. Do the stories of their Bible not clearly warn them how not behave? What not to repeat? Why don’t they see that? It was not I who misinterpreted the Koran into an imperative for murder. Would Allah not have preferred his people to live in peace? Does Elokim, my G-d, want anything but peace for His children?... So they have Allah and we have Elokim, and we are at war.” Elisheva works in a hospital taking care of the wounded of the wars and the suicide bombers. They are all trying in their own way to make sense of the world they live in and seeking to deal with the sadness and despair they are experiencing.
Ellysheva is at the memorial service for her father, thinking back on the synagogue and religion of her youth, and she thinks, “I wonder now why loving G-d is a commandment and why to love your neighbor like yourself is the second most important principle of faith, a rule like not crossing the road on a red light. I wonder why protecting the stranger in our midst is almost as mportant in the scriptures as honoring our father and our mother, as not coveting our neighbor’s wife. Because if the strangers in our midst were friendly, we would not need a law to protect them.
In a local book group that read this book, the consensus was that this story reflected the reality of life in Israel, presenting a realistic view of the social history of Israel. In the story, the character Orit has a series of dreams interspersed with news bulletins. Batya Casper told me in an interview, “All the news bulletins are factual, as are the stories of Arab/Jewish intermarriage. There are, in fact, a growing number of such cases.” Casper says that her interest in writing Israela “was to show a truly loving relationship between two good people.” All of the scenarios in this story are based on fact.
Casper moved to Israel in 1956. She has lived there intermittently since childhood.
Merle Carrus, The New Hampshire Jewish Reporter




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