This suspenseful story reveals the fractured society in Israel itself as the struggle between religious and nationalist fanatics and mainstream citizens deepens. The idealism of the founders is eroded by the younger generation's rejection of the constantly expanding settlements on Palestinian land. Young Ben Kagan becomes a pawn in a savage blackmail plot against the government. A national and family crisis reveals deeply buried secrets.
The story tracks four family members as each confronts the demands and threats of a nation in turmoil. The action is triggered by Shemtov, powerful chief of combined Israeli intelligence. He plans to use Khalid Heikal, a charismatic Palestinian awaiting trial for terrorism, to advance a peaceful resolution to interminable war.
Against the background of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the novel reflects the struggle within Israeli society between the ideals of the founders and the disillusionment and sense of betrayal of the younger generation, as well as the conflict between religious and nationalist zealots and mainstream citizens.
In despair over his own role in enforcing the occupation, his father’s militarism and womanizing, and his anguish over his romance with an Arab girl, Ben Kagan becomes the spokesman for an emerging effort to resist Israeli military activities and withdraw from the occupied territories.
There is a national debate and grave threats from the right wing. Ben is kidnapped and used as a pawn in demands made upon the government. A family upheaval ensues and long buried secrets are revealed.
Thought provoking and suspenseful, FAMILY WARS is a compelling read.
Ora Mendels was born in Jerusalem, grew up in England and Johannesburg, South Africa, and emigrated to the United States with her husband, Joseph, a research psychiatrist. They settled in Philadelphia with their three children.
Ora has won several literary prizes and was a newspaper reporter, feature writer and columnist in Cape Town and Johannesburg, contributing regularly to all South Africa’s English language newspapers and magazines. In South Africa, and later, in the U.S., she was a freelance journalist, published in a number of mass circulation magazines. She is also the author of several short stories. "Sleeping with the Comrades" was published in Antietam Review. "The Traitor" will be published in January 2011 in Israel Stories. The first chapter of "FAMILY WARS" was published in the online journal Jewish Fiction in Nov. 2010.