Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century

By Peter Y. Medding | Go to book overview

Examining the Oslo Process: A First Cut
Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen], Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo.
Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing, 1995. 252 pp.
Yossi Beilin, Laga'at bashalom (Touching Peace). Tel Aviv: Yedioth Ahronoth
Books, 1997. 318 pp.
Ziva Flamhaft, Israel on the Road to Peace: Accepting the Unacceptable. Boulder:
Westview Press, 1996. xvii + 252 pp.
David Makovsky, Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the
Oslo Accord
. Boulder: Westview Press and The Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, 1996. viii + 239 pp.

The 1993 Declaration of Principles (known as the Oslo agreement) and the accompanying exchange of letters of mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization marked a fundamental and dramatic change in the Middle East. The announced aim of the process was to end generations of conflict in a few short years, but the outcome is still far from clear. Future analysts may conclude that these agreements did in fact contribute to peace and stability, or they may find that the process raised unrealistic expectations and was ultimately counterproductive.

In the short period that has elapsed, it is difficult to place the events in perspective. The research has only begun, and these four books are the first preliminary sources. Two were written by actors who were centrally involved in the process, another by one of Israel's most accomplished and insightful journalists (David Makovsky), and the fourth by an academic (Ziva Flamhaft) familiar with the complexities of the Middle East. All begin with a historical overview, with Yossi Beilin and Mahmoud Abbas (better known as Abu Mazen) adding detailed personal and family histories as prologues to the events prior to and during the Oslo talks. Abu Mazen, Makovsky and Flamhaft include extensive appendices and documents (more than half of Abu Mazen's volume consists of his summaries of the sessions leading to the agreement and of related meetings), although the absence of an index in the Makovsky volume limits its utility for researchers.

All four books also reflect and suffer from a framework that is limited to the Middle East and, in most cases, to the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. The authors treat the efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict as sui generis, without reference to the broader history of international conflict and to the empirical experience of similar bilateral negotiations. Beilin and Flamhaft, in particular, begin with the assumption that there was “a solution” and that the challenge for decision makers was to identify its elements and then gain enough political support to implement it. They

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Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Studies in Contemporary Jewry *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Symposium - Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century *
  • The Place of Ethnic Identity in the Development of Personal Identity: A Challenge for the Jewish Family 3
  • Notes *
  • Marriage, Americanization and American Jewish Culture, 1900–1920 27
  • Notes *
  • Making Fragmentation Familiar: Barry Levinson's Avalon 49
  • Notes *
  • The Economics of Contemporary American Jewish Family Life 65
  • Notes *
  • Children of Intermarriage: How “jewish”? 81
  • Notes *
  • What Happened to the Extended Jewish Family? Jewish Homes for the Aged in Eastern Europe 128
  • Notes *
  • Cohesion and Rupture: the Jewish Family in East European Ghettos During the Holocaust 143
  • Notes *
  • The “family-Community” Model in Haredi Society 166
  • Notes *
  • We Are All One Bereaved Family: Personal Loss and Collective Mourning in Israeli Society 178
  • Notes *
  • Essays *
  • Evangelists in a Strange Land: American Missionaries in Israel, 1948–1967 195
  • Notes *
  • Balfour's Mission to Palestine: Science, Strategy and Vision in the Inauguration of the Hebrew University 214
  • Notes 228
  • Review Essays *
  • Vichy and the Jews: A Past That is Not Past 235
  • Notes *
  • Mastering the Middle East: Israel in a Regional Context 250
  • Examining the Oslo Process: A First Cut 256
  • Notes *
  • Book Reviews *
  • Antisemitism, Holocaust and Genocide 265
  • Notes *
  • Notes *
  • History and the Social Sciences 281
  • Notes *
  • Notes *
  • Notes *
  • Language, Literature and the Arts 307
  • Notes 309
  • Notes *
  • Religion, Thought and Education 325
  • Notes *
  • Zionism, Israel and the Middle East 339
  • Notes 349
  • Recently Completed Doctoral Dissertations 351
  • Studies in Comtemporary Jewry XV 360
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