Segev Tom - 1949 The first israelis

Author : Segev Tom
Title : 1949 The first israelis
Year : 1986

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Preface : Ten Years Later. Some time after this book first came out, a friend surprised me with an Arabic edition, published in Beirut by the Institute for Palestinian Studies. I had no prior knowledge of the translation and of course the Institute, affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, had not asked for permission, nor had it offered to pay royalties. Still, I was quite pleased that the book had found its way across the line of fire. Subsequently, when I met a member of the Institute, I said to him, "I know you - you stole my book." "True," the man answered, "but you stole my country." This exchange, I think, more or less sums up the level of discussion between Israelis and Palestinians in the 1980s. We have certainly come a long way since. Indeed, the first Israelis would hardly recognize their country now. For me, the story of. those first Israelis is basically one of success; I tend to think of them with compassion and not a little envy for their part in the historic task of creating a new state. Yet when my book appeared in Israel a decade ago, it caused a stormy controversy. Reactions ranged from shame to dismay to rejection, for the book shattered a firmly established self-image and exposed as myths a large number of long-accepted truths. Its effect was all the more devastating since it was based almost entirely on official documents. ...

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