14 Oct PJ Media review, Sept. 2016

The ‘New Middle East’ That Never Was

P. David Hornik

Matti Friedman, a journalist and writer who moved from Canada to Israel in his late teens in the late 1990s, has written a powerful little book, Pumpkinflowers, that takes you deep into Israeli and Middle Eastern reality.

The Pumpkin was a hill in the southern-Lebanon security zone, which Israel set up in 1985 and withdrew from in 2000. “Flowers” was military code for casualties. In those years Hizballah was able to inflict a steady toll of “flowers” at the Pumpkin and other security-zone outposts. It was that—along with the 1997 helicopter disaster (a horrendous accident)—that swayed Israel into finally leaving the zone. As well as a hope—soon shattered—that doing so would lead to peace. …

Pumpkinflowers is ultimately a story of an individual’s and a society’s growth and adjustment to reality. Rendered in Friedman’s lean, pinpoint prose with its frequent poetic intensities, it’s an engrossing read and leaves—I’m already finding—a strong impact.

(Read the full review here.)