This book, finely written and very readable, is at the same time disturbing. Elon's contention, and convincing demonstration, that religious fanaticism and communal violence are deeply ingrained in Jerusalem's geography and its long history (four thousand years) leave little hope for the "city of mirrors." Particularly troubling are his accounts of the "Third Temple" activists, who are bent on destroying the great Muslim Dome of the Rock and reclaiming the site (the Temple Mount) for Judaism. Elon cites the Arab geographer Muqaddasi who ten centuries ago wrote: "Jerusalem is a golden basin filled with scorpions."
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