Walking Israel

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Walking IsraelA great idea – get a picture of modern Israel by starting at the northern border with Lebanon and walking along the coast until you arrive at the border with Gaza. It’s only about 180km long and the walk would pass through interesting coastal towns like Acre, Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv. So it’s a pity Walking Israel, NBC correspondent Martin Fletcher’s account of this stroll, is such a disappointment.

A great deal of the book has nothing to do with the walk at all, some topic comes up (the army, kibbutzes) and then we’re off to something that took place months before or after the walk and far away from the coast. Plus he’s a rather annoying person, you don’t warm to him. And the maps are shockers, lots of them, but all lacking information and absurdly located in the book.

For a much more insightful account of walking in the region check Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks which I reviewed a couple of years ago. And give Mr Fletcher his due, he has written about trying to track down exiled Ethiopian despot Mengistu at his retirement home (thank you Mugabe) in Zimbabwe. That has to be good.