Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beaufort by Ron Leshem

Have just finished reading Beaufort by Ron Leshem.  I picked this book up on impulse, attracted by the reference to Beaufort Castle, a mysterious crusader fortress in southern Lebanon (mysterious because very few historians can get a close look at it).  It's a work of fiction, but based on real events - the experiences of a garrison of soldiers from the Israeli Defence Force.

There's actually very little about the castle in the book - the soldiers are stationed at a modern concrete fort built beside the ancient structure.  Written in the first person, the novel recounts the last months of the IDF garrison before withdrawal from southern Lebanon.  Claustrophobic, alarming, often gross.

Israel-Palestine is an issue I can never make up my mind on.  You listen to one side and it sounds utterly just and convincing, then you listen to the other side and it sounds equally just and convincing.  So you are left with the impression that both sides are in the right (which means also that both sides are in the wrong).

Beaufort the novel revealed that Israel is a state under constant attack, and pays a heavy price to maintain its security.

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