For the past week, the attention of the nation and the world has been focused on the conflict in the Middle East, with the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. Israel is the only democracy in the region and a new book by Rabbi John Rosove, “Why Israel (and its Future) Matters,” plainly explains just that to those who don’t have a deep understanding of the Middle East, especially members of the millennial generation.
Concerned that his children and their peers might loose their connection to Israel, Rosove set out to try to explain how American and Israeli Jews need to find common ground even though their life experiences are vastly different. He presents the book in the form of letters to his two sons, Daniel and David, who have also written the Afterword.
The book is short and easy to read but still manages to be filled with information and context to help the readers understand the regional political struggles. Rosove even provides discussion suggestions at the end of each letter. In telling the story of the founding of Israel and the meaning of homeland, Rosove, explains how American Jews can “maintain your ethical and moral values while at the same time being supporters of the Jewish state despite its flaws and imperfections.’ Like many reform Jews, he’s very concerned that Israel is moving further and further away from the “two state solution” – which would establish a homeland for Palestinians on the West Bank — under the current leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu and enabled by the Trump Administration.
Though his primary audience is young Jews (his first book, “Why Judaism Matters” was similarly styled for Millennials), the new book is a helpful guide to understand the complicated politics of the Middle East for non-Jews as well. Rosove writes optimistically about the future and his confidence in the Jewish people to create a homeland for Palestinians and secure their future as a democratic country founded on Jewish values.
His book is important for anyone who is interested in understanding the Middle East and timely. We could also use a hopeful perspective right now.