The Seed of Abraham: Jews and Arabs in Contact and Conflict

In This Review

The Seed of Abraham: Jews and Arabs in Contact and Conflict

By Raphael Patai
University of Utah Press, 1986
394 pp. $29.95

Raphael Patai draws on a lifetime of study to discourse on the history, beliefs and customs of Arabs and Jews as they have lived in contact with each other from time immemorial. Despite many elements of commonality, Jews lived for centuries in inferior status under Arab rule, and now, when few Jews live in the Arab world, many Arabs are living as subordinated subjects under Jewish rule in Palestine. That long experience for both peoples, and not just the clash of competing nationalisms in the 20th century, has contributed substantially to the difficulty of "solving" the Arab-Israeli conflict of today. The author draws some personal conclusions of his own that seem unduly optimistic, such as that the Israeli Arabs are moving through evolving cultural values to a status of equal partners in the democratic and liberal state of Israel.

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