City of Oranges: An Inti­mate His­to­ry of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa

Adam LeBor
  • Review
By – December 12, 2011

His­to­ry can be retold in many ways. One of the most com­pelling and fun ways to unfold our past is to have the sto­ry reveal itself in a sin­gle place, with­in a set of select fam­i­lies, through­out a series of gen­er­a­tions. That is exact­ly what Adam LeBor does in his grip­ping, dynam­ic his­to­ry of the city of Jaf­fa, also known, as the title implies, as the City of Oranges and also as the Pride of Palestine. 

LeBor deft­ly weaves togeth­er the inter­ac­tions and ten­sions between Jews and Arabs and between Chris­tians and Mus­lims in the mod­ern city of Jaf­fa, a city with a his­to­ry that harkens back to ancient times. Today, Jaf­fa is an inte­gral part of the Israeli mega­lopo­lis Tel Aviv, but the res­o­nance of the past can nev­er be erased. Jaf­fa is a city that is old and new, bib­li­cal and cut­ting edge, reli­gious and sec­u­lar, Jew­ish and Arab. Jaf­fa is a city of extremes and a city of opposites. 

LeBor shows us how all these con­flicts blend togeth­er to cre­ate a func­tion­ing, imper­fect, vital com­mu­ni­ty in the Mid­dle East. 

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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