How do Israelis endure in an environment where terrorist attacks can occur at any time? Why do so many Israelis express messages of hope and not despair? Waiting for Peace is a journey of intimate discovery of life in a society coping with terrorism. Meet a fascinating group of Jewish Israelis: the political left and the right, the religious and the secular, a bus driver, an intelligence analyst, students, a high school principal, the wounded, doctors, social workers, a captain in an elite army unit, and a new recruit. Their stories illuminate a brutal reality and the profound strength of the human spirit. Revealing interviews describe relationships with Palestinians before and during the intifada. The heartfelt and sometimes heart wrenching personal narratives, replete with life’s lessons, will stay with you long after the book is closed.
Critic Reviews: Over the past four years, our enemies believed Israeli society would collapse in the face of their murderous attacks. The fact is that not only have we not collapsed - we have emerged triumphant in body and in spirit. The secret of our victory is found not only in the strength of our army, but in our celebration of life as can be seen by the poignant narratives offered in Waiting for Peace.
-Natan Sharansky, Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs
'Waiting for Peace' is a heartfelt, intelligent and beautifully written book that takes you into the homes and hearts of the brave Israelis who have so courageously survived the terrible war of terrorism being waged against them. I hope everyone will read it.
-Naomi Ragen, author of The Ghost of Hannah Mendes and The Covenant
'Waiting for Peace' is a special doorway into the lives, minds, and hearts of a diverse group of Jews in the Holy Land.... The book is an intimate one....respectful, revealing, and moving. Waiting for Peace joins in the great tradition of oral history and is a wonderful example of this art…. Most amazingly, the book is a mirror for the Jewish people and for all people. I predict that when you read this book, you will find yourself in there.
-Arthur Kurzweil, author of From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Family History
'Waiting for Peace' is a powerful, riveting, heartfelt, and eye-opening anthology of ordinary Jewish Israelis. If one book can make a difference in changing perceptions and stereotypes to the Middle East conflict, this is the one to read.
-Yitta Halberstam, co-author of the Small Miracles Series and author of Changing Course
I was deeply touched…. Now I understand (the situation in Israel) on a different level…. Because of your book the joy will be heightened when peace comes, hopefully soon. Every person who cares about humanity should read this book.
Liza Wiemer and Benay Katz’s journey enables us to enter the lives and hearts of every Israeli, feeling their hopes and understanding their strength, determination, and fear. A beautifully written book that truly captures the daily reality of Waiting for Peace!
-Pam Albert, Director of One Family, Canada
'An eye-opening view of the realities of Israeli life through touching true stories of hope, courage, determination and strength.'
- Canadian Coalition.com, July 2005
'If I could recommend one book for reading at this time, so everyone could understand what Israelis go through as they live their daily lives, this would be it. Each chapter has photographs of the Israelis interviewed and each chapter is a wonderful portrait of real people living their lives with courage.'
- The National Jewish Post & Opinion, May 2005
This book is a must-read for anyone who even attempts to understand how Israelis manage their day to day affairs in, as many of us see it, a climate of fear.
- The Canadian Jewish Tribune, June, 2005
Beyond the headlines, beneath the statistics, lie the gripping human stories: the stories of drama, love, loss, tragedy, suffering, pain, strength, fear, determination, resilience, hope, and the will to go on. These are the stories of the people of Israel who have been besieged, battered and brutalized by endless rounds of Arab terrorism, the most recent volley that began when the second intifada erupted in September 2000. Most of us are well acquainted with the facts: the sheer numbers overwhelm us with their horror and heartbreak. But few of us know the personal faces, the faces that once laughed, frowned, smiled, cried, brightened.
Numbers are,ultimately, meaningless. Say '6 Million' and the incomprehensible cannot be grasped. Say 'Anne Frank' and people nod in compassion, sadness, understanding, a tear sparkling in their eye.We need to know the Anne Franks of the intifada; the numbers simply fail their mission.Liza M. Wiemer, an accomplished journalist and writer from Milwaukee, is an idealist and Zionist (alas, a vanishing breed). As she watched the CNN reports and FOX News broadcasts during the height of the second intifada, her anguish deepened as the scenes of catastrophe and apocalypse unfolded everywhere: in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Netanaya, in Afula, in Haifa, in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem itself.
She also felt infuriated at the media`s bias against Israel, its distorted, unbalanced and hostile presentation of what was clearly a calculated campaign of warfare. She felt helpless and hopeless and wanted to do something, anything, that would be helpful to the ambushed people of Israel.She was not a politician so she could not affect public policy; she was not an affluent philanthropist so she could not contribute millions to the cause. But she was a writer, and she could do what passionate writers have done from time immemorial: fight with her words and awaken others to the plight of her people under endless siege. And, in this way, hopefully, help shape and move the movers and the shapers of this world to act on Israel`s behalf. This is a commission Liza Wiemer has masterfully fulfilled, with profoundly affecting results.
Waiting for Peace: How Israelis Live with Terrorism is an intimate, personal, wrenching account of the intifada that recounts the stories of ordinary Israelis whose lives were obliterated or forever changed in an instant by a random bullet, a stray grenade, a suicide bomber`s backpack filled with explosives and a rocket aimed from Gaza. Exhaustively researched and beautifully written, Waiting for Peace is filled with compelling narratives that illuminate the brutal realities that Israelis face every day, and the strength of the human spirit that endures, despite these realities.The aftermath of a terror attack, the response and the healing is different for each survivor and his family, varying wildly. There are those whose commitment to living in Isarel becomes strengthened and hard. And there are those whose loyalty falters, the stress of living under such difficult circumstances impossible to bear.
Liza Wiemer describes both groups with empathy and compassion. Among a remarkable cast of characters who populate her book, we meet Michael and Shevy Schumacher, whose determination to remain in Israel remains resolute despite their children having survived not one, but two separate and harrowing encounters with terror; Orly Virany who flees to the United States and Germany for 'respite' after she and a friend are caught in the Matzo Restaurant bombing in Haifa (she survives with multiple and permanent injuries; sadly, her best friend Danielle, who sat just across the table from her, does not); and the indomitable Amnon, a middle-aged bus driver who, despite the pleas of his family, refuses to give up his perilous bus route in the West Bank, where he daily traverses a labyrinth of hidden mines, snipers and terrorists with hand grenades, and where he has experienced the detonation of another bus right in front of him, the severed head of the suicide bomber falling to the ground. We enter into these people`s lives fully, and come away with the intimate knowledge of what it means to live in the shadow of terror on a daily, permanent basis. But Israel is a strong nation and Michael Schumacher`s response to his children`s two separate near-brushes with death is emblematic of the spirit of most of the people whose stories fill the book.'Why were my children spared when others were not? We can`t be indifferent and live life like before. I beg G-d to restore my daughter Yaffa (who was injured in the Sbarro`s Pizzeria bombing) to as full a life as possible. She`s had so many operations. She will be limited. She won`t be 100 percent. But now we have to help others. Why were we saved if not to make a difference, to make a change? Now all of us including Yaffa go visit victims of terror and their families, to help them overcome their trauma, to help them heal. Yaffa has tremendous inner strength. She is trying to make her life as normal as possible.'But Shevy Schumacher, Yaffa`s mother, can`t. Fear stalks her constantly, and her children`s encounters with terrorism has shrunken her, diminished her life. 'For me, it doesn`t get better,' she confesses. 'It gets worse. I feel like I am very much sunk into it. I am more nervous than I ever was. I haven`t gone to Jerusalem where I used to meet friends to eat, go shopping. I work in Maaleh Adumim where I live, so I`m lucky I don`t have to travel. But I feel like I am in a prison. I am still nervous at home. I lock the doors all the time, I pull down the shades. You hear about terrorists coming into houses. I try to be in control, but it doesn`t always work. It`s not over for us.'
Yaffa has saved two tokens of remembrance from the Sbarro bombing: her blood-stained siddur that someone found across the street from the explosion (it had her name and address in it), and a melted piece of metal shrapnel that had been removed from her body.But long after the physical evidence has been expelled, the psychic scars linger and remain. Waiting for Peace is their poignant account.
Yitta Halberstam - The Jewish Press, 2005
This is the story of an American lady who decides to find out what it's really like to live in Israel with terror, by going to Israel and interviewing regular citizens. So in April 2002 they set out to interview over 75 individuals, including: 'bus drivers and computer programmers, students and principals, the wounded and the doctors, the political left and the political right, the religious and the nonreligious, social workers and hotel managers.' They found the stories of 'loss and hope [to] epitomize the essence of Jewish survival.'
The first tragedy recorded happened at an Arab-Israeli-owned restaurant in Haifa who never imagined terror would strike and 'had not hired a security guard.' The thing with these tragedies in Israel is that neither Wiemer nor Katz ever encountered someone who didn't know someone who'd been injured or killed. Somewhat surprisingly, the authors examine both right and left perspectives.
Other events we read about are terror in Kadim, Jenin, the West Bank; political activists; Arafat's terror and violence; Oslo; reality for peace?; life in a world of army reserve duty; economic consequences of terror, etc. An entire chapter is dedicated to the effect terror has on children and to those who come from North America to make their homes in Israel.
Objective: 'Our hope is to make a difference.'
Comments: Arafat's death occurred after their interviews and before the book's publication but Wiemer and Katz decided nonetheless to not alter the transcripts.
Use: For people outside of Israel who do not live with terrorism. Today however, even more so, as terror spreads throughout the world, Waiting for Peace gives those unaccustomed to terror a perspective Israelis have unfortunately been subject to for decades.
Jewish Educational Materials Online, The Jewish Agency for Israel
Reader Reviews: I am a Jew who LOVES ISRAEL & identifies with Israel gov't & Jewish Israelis 1st in my heart & Soul Most Sincerely! I recently finished the book Waiting for Peace – How Israeli Live with Terrorism- by Liza Wiemar, who I recently heard speak and Benay Katz who lives in Medinoth YISRAEL about interviews they had with Jewish Israelis in the terrible year of terror 2002. I travel to Israel often. From 1999 thru 2005- I was there every year except 2004. I believe a little bit I understand & identify with the 'Mindset' of Jewish Israelis. I felt the book was very good in trying to make Americans understand real Jewish Israelis what they have been going through etc… After all nothing is more important than Israel & Israelis are the basis of everything Jewish Freedom & Independence stand for. I am Pro-Israel & Admire Jewish Israelis very MUCH!
Thank you for publishing this book.
Any way to promote this book more is very important for so many good reasons and also especially for the American Jewish population to have them understand Jewish Israelis is so very important!
Most sincerely for publishing a great book & my sincerest best wishes for all good things for Israel & Jewish Israelis!!
Michael Kirmayer, Oakland Gdns, NY March 23, 2006
Dear Mr. Brunell,
I was one of the Na'amat ladies in the audience at your speech yesterday. I was so impressed with your story I bought your book. I must tell you I returned home and read your book from 'cover to cover' - in one gulp you might say. I just couldn't put it down. Your story is truly most impressive. I admire your courage, your wife's courage and even more your daughter's persistence in achieving their goals to convert to Judaism. We who were born Jews take so much for granted in our religion. You made me see my religion in an entirely different light.
Thank you for sharing your unique experience to our group and to me personally.
I wish you many years of success and happiness in Israel. May all your beautiful daughters find good husbands and bring you many 'sabras' to love.