The Lie

  • Review
By – May 22, 2014

Dahlia Barr is an Israeli human rights lawyer who spe­cial­izes in defend­ing Pales­tini­ans accused of ter­ror­ism. She is sum­moned to the Prime Minister’s secu­ri­ty advi­sor and asked to take on the spe­cial job of deter­min­ing when extreme inter­ro­ga­tion may be used on pris­on­ers in order to keep the coun­try secure. Dahlia accepts the posi­tion only because it might be an effec­tive way for her to influ­ence the gov­ern­ment against using tor­ture. She is imme­di­ate­ly assigned to the case of Pro­fes­sor Edward Al Mas­ri, an Arab Israeli man who re-entered Israel car­ry­ing a huge sum of mon­ey, pre­sum­ably to be used to fund ter­ror­ism. Dahlia knows this man from her child­hood — he is the son of her mother’s best friend — and has a com­pli­cat­ed rela­tion­ship with him. Dahlia’s moth­er has always been a left-wing activist and agi­ta­tor and her best friend has been a sec­ond moth­er to Dahlia. Dahlia is a pas­sion­ate, ide­al­is­tic career woman and devot­ed moth­er who is soon to be divorced and has a lover. Soon the sto­ry becomes even more com­pli­cat­ed, when Dahlia’s son, a sol­dier in the Israeli army, is cap­tured by Hezbol­lah and tak­en across the bor­der to Lebanon. Dahlia fig­ures out that this event is con­nect­ed with Al Masri. 

It may seem con­trived that Dahlia’s case so close­ly con­nects to her per­son­al life, but the read­er must note what a small coun­try Israel is, where every­one is some­how relat­ed. This sto­ry is rem­i­nis­cent of the acclaimed Israeli tele­vi­sion series Hatu­fim, or Home­land in the U.S., which shows the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of Israeli soci­ety, a trait that exists along­side its cit­i­zens’ vari­ety of strong­ly expressed oppos­ing opinions. 

Hesh Kestin served in the Israel Defense Forces and worked as a for­eign correspon­dent, and his tale rings true. There is typ­i­cal Israeli sar­cas­tic humor in the ban­ter between Dahlia and the oth­er char­ac­ters. This short book sup­plies many insights into the compli­cated pol­i­tics Israel faces. A sur­pris­ing twist leaves the read­er hop­ing for more enjoy­able writ­ing from this author.

Relat­ed content:

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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