From the Nile to the JordanPosted: 2014/06/05
Text: Solveig Hansen
The uprooting of the Jewish communities in Egypt following the establishment of Israel in 1948 forms the backdrop in many of Prof. Ada Aharoni’s books. From the Nile to the Jordan (1994) tells the captivating story of young Inbar and her family, and the love story of Inbar and Raoul, a Holocaust survivor.
The review below is by Rachel Unger, IFLAC intern during her semester at Haifa University in 2014.
The novel is available at Amazon, both as paperback and Kindle e-book.
“From the Nile to the Jordan:
An epic and historical novel sublime and forgotten”
by Ada Aharoni
Review by Rachel Unger, 2014
“From the Nile to the Jordan” tells the fascinating story of a young Jewish woman in Egypt after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The novel is based on true historical events which have been largely untold and forgotten. This makes the novel unique and very interesting for all readers. Aharoni’s rich, colorful language depicts the melange of cultures her protagonist grows up in and the effects of the changing environment on her formerly innocent life. The novel is beautifully written, poetic, and a definite page turner. Moreover, it is a thrilling romance that will capture the hearts of its readers. It is both a beautiful, deeply personal work of literature as well as a politically important piece, as it brings a forgotten part of history back to life. The story is very relevant to the current crises the Middle East faces and it introduces the often unheard perspective of Jews from Arab countries.
The novel tells the story of a Jewish girl, Inbar, and her family, who were forced out of Egypt when Israel was born in 1948, along with the entire Jewish community. Now, there are only about 10 Jewish widows left in Egypt. This “Exodus” happened in other Arab countries too, and many Jews were forced to leave all their property behind. In this sense, Jews and Palestinians share a history of expulsion. Up to one million Jews were expelled from Arab countries following the declaration of independence of Israel, while there were about 700,000 Palestinian refugees from Israel, according to UNRWA. Aharoni tells the story of Inbar to show how the story of the Jews who were ousted from Arab countries can help bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, by showing that half the Jewish population of Israel, those from Arab countries, have also suffered from the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Aharoni brilliantly captures both the darkness and helplessness felt by the Jews in Egypt during the “Second Exodus,” alongside the bright passion of youths, the strength of love, and determined hopefulness for a more peaceful and happy future. The characters explore the lights and darks of human nature and the powerful forces of society. The book is a cry for a new era of brotherly and sisterly love that is guaranteed to touch the hearts of readers of all ages from around the globe.