Son of the Cypresses: Memories, Reflections, and Regrets from a Political Life

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University of California Press, Apr 11, 2007 - History - 262 pages
"Now that I am seventy years of age, it is my prerogative to offer a summing up," says Meron Benvenisti, internationally known author and columnist, Jerusalem native, and scion of Israel’s founders. Born in Palestine in 1934 to a Sephardic father and an Ashkenazi mother, Benvenisti has enjoyed an unusual vantage point from which to consider his homeland’s conflicts and controversies.

Throughout his long and provocative career as a scholar, an elected official, and a respected journalist, he has remained intimately involved with Israel’s social and political development.

Part memoir and part political polemic, Son of the Cypresses threads Benvenisti’s own story through the story of Israel. The result is a vivid, sharply drawn eyewitness account of pre-state Jerusalem and Israel’s early years. He memorably sets the scene by recalling his father’s emotional journey from Jewish Salonika in 1913 to Palestine, with all its attendant euphoria and frustration, and his father’s pioneer dedication to inculcating Israeli youth with a "native’s" attachment to the homeland.

In describing the colorful and lively Jerusalem in which he grew up, Benvenisti recalls the many challenges faced by new Jewish immigrants, who found themselves not only in conflict with the Arab population but also with each other as Sephardim and Ashkenazim. He revisits his own public disagreements with both Zionists and Palestinians and shares indelible memories such as his boyhood experiences of the 1948 War. In remembering his life as an Israeli sabra, Benvenisti offers a vivid record of the historical roots of the conflict that persists today.

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Contents

A Founding Father
1
Delayed Filial Rebellion
32
Jerusalemites
57
The Ceremony of Innocence Is Drowned
97
The Morning After
130
Separation and Disengagement
157
Descriptions and Prescriptions
199
Epilogue
229
Copyright

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Page 45 - Thus saith the Lord ; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord ; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
Page 165 - Is not the whole land before thee ? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me : if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right : or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
Page 165 - And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

About the author (2007)

Meron Benvenisti was deputy mayor of Jerusalem from 1971 to 1978. He was a columnist for Haaretz, Israel’s largest newspaper, and is the author of numerous books including Intimate Enemies (UC Press, 1995), City of Stone (UC Press, 1996), and Sacred Landscape (UC Press, 2000).

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