A Crack in the Earth: A Jour­ney Up Israel’s Rift Valley

  • Review
By – November 10, 2011

Some might find it hard to get excit­ed about geo­mor­phol­o­gy. Read­ing Haim Watzman’s new book about the Jor­dan Riv­er Val­ley might change that attitude.

It is a place imbued with his­to­ry, a place that is at the same time the crux of con­flict and the key to the future. Arabs and Jews live in the Jor­dan Riv­er Val­ley. Jor­dan and Israel are both with­in the Jor­dan Riv­er Val­ley. It is the largest seis­mo­log­i­cal rift in the world. Jeri­cho, the old­est city in the West­ern world, the city at the low­est point below sea lev­el, lies at the base of the Val­ley. The Dead Sea is there. It is a nat­ur­al wonder. 

And it is more. The Jor­dan Riv­er Val­ley is not just an amaz­ing spot on the map of the world. It is the peo­ple there who make the rift what it is. Watz­man weaves togeth­er his­to­ry, sci­ence, pol­i­tics, and peo­ple in an impres­sive work. He tru­ly puts The Rift on the map. 

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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