by Ron Kronish
Reviewed by Dr. Eugene Fisher
This is a book written for both scholars and general readers. Anyone interested in interreligious and ecumenical relations will learn from it. Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish grew up in America and has lived in Israel for many years. He is the founder and served as director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) from 1991-2014. The volume centers on describing the lives and peacebuilding work of three Palestinian (one of whom is a Lutheran) and three Israeli Jewish leaders, a narration that brings the reader deeply inside both communities and the efforts both are making to establish a lasting peace and a prosperous life for both of these ancient religious communities.
Kronish understands and presents well both the Israeli-Jewish and Palestinian Muslim and Christian understandings of their intertwined histories, from the 1948 War of Independence/Day of Disaster through numerous peace initiatives held both in the Middle East and in Europe. In the first part of this book he narrates this history from the viewpoint of both communities, giving the reader a deep understanding of the issues that both unite and divide the two peoples.
The emphasis in this book is on religious rather than political dialogue. This leads to an understanding of the “other” in a way that can enable both groups to work together and to work with their political leaders to find solutions. At the end of the book Kronish gives short profiles of a number of young Israeli Jews and Palestinians who will carry on the work. He closes with some suggested approaches that can enable deeper interactions and joint efforts toward a just and lasting peace for both communities. I highly recommend this book.