Middle East

Review of ‘The Settler’

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The Settler by Orit Arfa is billed as a historical Middle Eastern romance, but it’s much more than that. It’s the story of how one woman, Sara Dakar, a resident of the Jewish settlement of Gush Katif, deals with life after she and her fellow settlers are expelled and the settlement destroyed. Even more, it’s a story of modern Israel, and the question of whether it’s a democratic country or a nascent religious dictatorship.

Arfa takes us through the broad sweep of Middle Eastern politics vis a vis Israel, and a down and dirty tour through present day Israel as it copes with the contradictions and inconsistencies in a society that has seen more than its share of death and sadness as its people seek love and fun.

This is not a weekend read, unless you have a long holiday weekend with no other distractions. It’s hard to put down, but it’s also doubtful that you can get through it in one sitting; it’s just too intense.

Regardless of where you stand on the Arab-Israeli issue or the problem of Israeli settlements, you will enjoy reading this book. In fact, if you want to understand the dilemma that’s the Israeli problem better, I recommend this be one of the texts that you consult. Four stars to Arfa for an interesting read.

Photography: Chautauqua Institution

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The Clock Tower at Chautauqua.
The Clock Tower at Chautauqua.
Athenaeum Hotel
Hagen-Wensley Guest Lodge
Palestine Park
Bestor Plaza
Clock Tower and Ferry House

046 047 048 049 050 051 052 054 056 063 065 067 021 023 025 026 027 028 029 031 032 035 040I had my first opportunity to visit historic Chautauqua Institution, on the shore of Chautauqua Lake in western New York state from August 4 to 8. Following are some of my photos from what turned out to be a visit to the biggest and best summer camp in the world.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor speaks to the CLSC 2013 graduates.
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor speaks to the CLSC 2013 graduates.
CLSC coordinator Jeff Miller presents my 2012 CLSC certificate.
Posing with Sharon Hudson Dean, my public affairs counselor when I was ambassador to Zimbabwe, and a Chautauqua alum.


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