Picks and Pans Review: The Longest War: Israel in Lebanon

updated 01/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Jacobo Timerman

In one brief passage, Timerman describes what happened to him when his father died; he was 10 years old then and living in a poor Jewish section of Buenos Aires. From that experience came his sense that being Jewish means that one belongs to an international community in which all the members care for each other. In 1979 he was expelled from his home in Argentina, whose totalitarian state he described in his controversial book Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number. He now lives in Israel, whose invasion of Lebanon led him to believe that the country's leaders do not share his belief in what being Jewish means, that they are warmakers and that what they have done is wrong. Timerman says that by their actions they have corrupted the whole reason for Israel's existence, that the brave soldiers—who from the beginning of Israel have fought only in defense of their land—will never again be able to go to war with a clear conscience. This book is uneven—parts of it are like a diary, other parts a memoir. There are interviews too, but what is germane is the powerful argument against Israel's recent behavior in the Middle East. (Knopf, $11.95)

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