The Magazine

Normal Nation?

Everyday life in the promised land.

Jan 12, 2004, Vol. 9, No. 17 • By DAVID AIKMAN
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Rosenthal's politics stay so emphatically out of the way that it is not easy to speculate, on the basis of her book, on how Israeli-Palestinian problems might be resolved. In her epilogue, she makes it clear that, despite all of the obvious problems, many Jews and Arabs work very hard to establish working relationships with each other, and every now and then, in school or in the theater, they establish breakthroughs in mutual respect. But she offers no grandiose prescriptions and she avoids sentimentalism. How Israel will deal with terrorism and yet reach out to Arabs she leaves to others to elaborate. But "The Israelis" demonstrates how much can be accomplished by diligent reporting and a commitment to capture wide variations in experience and viewpoint fairly.

David Aikman is a former bureau chief for Time magazine in Jerusalem, a senior fellow of The Trinity Forum, and the author of a new book about Christianity in China, "Jesus in Beijing."