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Outsider in the Promised Land &
Israel's Years of Bogus Grandeur

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Outsider in the Promised Land: An Iraqi Jew in Israel

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Outsider in the Promised Land
An Iraqi Jew in Israel
By Nissim Rejwan
University of Texas Press: 2006
ISBN: 0-292-71288-X

Israel's Years of Bogus Grandeur: From the Six-Day War to the First Intifada

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Israel's Years of Bogus Grandeur
From the Six-Day War to the First Intifada
By Nissim Rejwan
University of Texas Press: 2006
ISBN: 0-292-71415-7

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - December 22, 2006

Born in Iraq, Nissim Rejwan was forced to flee to Israel in 1951, along with the bulk of Iraq's Jewish population. Rejwan chronicled his life, and the long Jewish history in Iraq in his deeply moving memoir, The Last Jews in Baghdad: Remembering a Lost Homeland. He was twenty-six when he arrived in Israel and had to rebuild his life in this foreign land. This he did, becoming a respected journalist and scholar, penning such works as: In his two newest works, Outsider in the Promised Land: An Iraqi Jew in Israel and Israel's Years of Bogus Grandeur: From the Six-Day War to the First Intifada Rejwan has compiled a varied selection of his articles, essays, letters, diary entries, and responses to his writing, that continue to tell his own story, which was begun in The Last Jews in Baghdad. At the same time these documents also serve to impart an overview of the history of Israel from Rejwan's arrival to the late 1980's. Outsider in the Promised Land covers the period from 1951, starting with Rejwan's impressions of his new home and following his life up to the beginning of the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel's Years of Bogus Grandeur then picks up the story starting with the Six-Day War and running up to the First Intifada.

Through these two books, the reader is provided with a unique look at Israel and its social and political development. Most books concerning Israel are written from a European perspective, Rejwan, by contrast writes from an 'Oriental' perspective, providing unique insights into the status of non-European Jews in Israel and Israel's relationship with its Arab neighbors.

Combined, Outsider in the Promised Land and Israel's Years of Bogus Grandeur provides a telling and intimate account of Rejwan's life. They also present a unique view on Israel history, covering such diverse and controversial topics as political scandals, the question of "Who is a Jew?", the status of Arab Israelis, terrorism, and Israel's economic development. In short, these two books provide an insightful and informative overview of one man's life and a pivotal period in Israel's development and history. These books will find a ready audience, especially among those interested in Jewish and Middle Eastern culture and history.


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