From the Wilderness and Lebanon

Asael Lubotzky, trans. from the Hebrew by Murray Roston. Toby, $14.95 trade paper (206p) ISBN 978-1-59264-417-9
Lubotzky's oddly-truncated memoir recounts his time in the Israeli Army in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War, and his recovery from a serious battlefield injury. The memoir assumes some familiarity with Israel that not all readers will have, and will lose something in translation for general readers. As harrowing as Lubotzky's experiences were, his reflections on them often come off as banal rather than profound ("Suffering an injury can contribute much to a person's character"). He also skirts any consideration of the merits of the war, which was launched after a Hezbollah raid into northern Israel, although it received heavy criticism from the Israeli public. What is left is the earnest and sincere story of a young Army commander: his trials achieving military objectives and fighting an enemy willing to use human shields, then the horrendous injury and his long recovery, both physically and emotionally. Oddly, only in an author's note does Lubotzky reveal that after rehabilitation he completed medical school, now works as a physician, and fathered three children. With little depth or scope, the book will disappoint even some supporters of Israel and admirers of the IDF. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 01/01/2016
Genre: Religion
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