WALKING ISRAEL, 2010
published by Thomas Dunne, St. Martin’s Press.
Martin walks the coast of Israel and reveals the country and its problems, drawing on the experiences of his trek, a year’s research, and thirty years of life in the country.
After three decades reporting from Israel, Martin became convinced that Israel gets a raw deal in the eyes of the world.
Extraordinary…nothing else like it. There is no better guide. Indispensable for understanding Israel
Brian Williams, NBC News
Spectacular and unique
The Jewish Herald Voice
Martin Fletcher is more than the consummate journalist. He is a master storyteller. In Walking Israel he gives us a special gift - a real sense of himself and his passion for the land and the people who are much more than the sum of their conflicts. This book offers a sense of place about a country so many around the world love.
David Gregory, Moderator, "Meet the Press"
Th[e] kaleidoscope of perspectives allows readers to glimpse an Israel too complex to reduce to the familiar script of interethnic strife...A much-needed corrective to media stereotypes.
An award-winning war correspondent files penetrating stories of Israel containing scant politics and much personal observation.
Fletcher (Breaking News: A Stunning and Memorable Account of Reporting from Some of the Most Dangerous Places in the World, 2008, etc.), the longtime NBC News bureau chief in Tel Aviv, walked the length of Israel from the Lebanese border to Gaza. His trek took him from Galilee to Achziv and a surviving kibbutz, Acre to Haifa and Herzliya, Tel Aviv-Jaffa to Ashkelon, and finally a sighting of Gaza City. Though exceedingly difficult both physically and mentally, the trip provides an engaging portrait of an Israel for which the author cares deeply. No longer a dispassionate broadcaster, Fletcher candidly observes cultural and geographical diversity in a disputed and disputative place, and he encountered many likable and articulate people along the way—Arabs and Jews, Muslims and Zionists, Palestinians and Israelis. They all emerged from simple stereotypes to reveal the famously complex character of the Holy Land, along with the spectacular geography and unrivaled history. With consideration of today’s kibbutzim and the plight of veterans of the Shoah, the author provides insight into the methods of soldiering and considers the predicament of Israeli Arabs. Still, he writes, the norm is coexistence, and mosques, churches and synagogues are neighbors that are not always at odds. From the world’s tinderbox, Fletcher, a son of Holocaust survivors, is a quiet but strong and vital voice amid all the shouting. “I wondered which was closer to the true nature of life in Israel—lazing on the beach with a book or running to the bomb shelter with a baby?,” he writes. “And if it’s a bit of both, then truly, this place must drive you crazy—like a serial bungee jumper guessing when the rope will break.”
A dogged reporter reveals essential truths, from his home and his heart, never broadcast on the evening news—a welcome bit of sanity.
Fletcher is a rogue storyteller, a master of self-deprecation, chronicling his theft of an artifact from Avivi’s museum and his near heart attack from too much hiking as well as his own bemusement and fascination with Israel’s many contradictions. “Ambivalent as I am about the country Jews have forged, I do respect the people who created it,” he writes. “Where else would a car driver knock you down, curse you and then drive you to the hospital, comparing notes on mutual friends?… And where else would a group of strangers break the ice not by discussing last night’s TV program or discussing the latest news but by posing the question, ‘So how did your family survive the Holocaust?
Adam Dickter, Jewish Week
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