Book Review: Blood Brothers. A story of people, not politics.

Book: Blood Brothers

Author: Elias Chacour and David Hazard

Genre: Non-fiction


As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. When tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps in 1948, Elias began a long struggle with how to respond. In Blood Brothers, he blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict, touching on questions such as:

•What behind-the-scenes politics touched off the turmoil in the Middle East?
•What does Bible prophecy really have to say?
•Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled?

Now updated with commentary on the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a new foreword by Lynne Hybels and Gabe Lyons, this book offers hope and insight that can help each of us learn to live at peace in a world of tension and terror.

My Thoughts

I would love to say that Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour is merely a book full of history, a story of experiences of the past, not of the present, or even the future. I would love to say this book is now irrelevant, that the problems that face the nation of Israel and the Palestinian people are no longer there.

Sadly, Chacour’s book about growing up as a Palestinian Christian when Israel became established as a nation in 1948 holds familiar themes for our world today. Chacour’s book, first written in 1984 holds many of the same lessons and truths we need to be aware of today when talking about the tension and bloodshed between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Chacour’s story is an eye-opening look at the conflict in Israel but also at those working for peace there. Chacour, now in his 80s, is still working for that same peace, the peace that was lost long before modern history, but especially in the late 40s when the United Nations declared Israel its own nation. Chacour may not have seen peace on a wide scale but at the personal level, he has seen healing and understanding unfold between Jews, Muslims, and Christians in a way he never thought possible as a child who witnessed unimaginable, heartbreaking violence toward his people and others.

As the back of the book says, Blood Brothers is a story about people, not politics and that’s exactly how I found it.

Chacour grew up in a small Paestinian village in Galilee. In 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million were forced into refugee camps. Chacour’s only family was chased from their village and their men were arrested, some of them later able to return, some of them killed. Being called a terrorist was a routine occurrence for Chacour from the time he was a small child and probably even know. He dealt with these these taunts and oppressive comments even as he studied to become a pastor with the Melkite Church. He is now the Archbishop of that church.

Chacour’s personal experience created a struggle within him between the love of the Christ he knew and how humans treat other.

Blood Brothers has become an international best seller, not only because it details Chacour’s experiences, but because it offers hope that healing will come on a personal level, if never on a political level, for the people of Israel and Palestine.

It is a book we all should read before we form or express opinions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and I hope more will do so.

Sunday Bookends: The Boy is 15 (gulp), I’m finally reading non-fiction, and driving on narrow, dirt roads.

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I talk about what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, doing, and sometimes what I’ve been writing.

What’s Been Occurring

Today is my son’s 15th birthday.

I don’t want to write too much about it, to be honest, because one, I’ll probably start to cry and two, he’s a teenager and values his privacy now. Because he doesn’t like me to share photos of him now that he is a *cough* mature *cough* teenager, I decided to share the photos he would allow me to share of himself today.

That’s right. Teenagers aren’t a fan of having their photos being shared and I have to accept that.

We are going to my parents for some dinner and his favorite dessert, my mom’s homemade apple pie. And then I shall cry a little later over the fact these 15 years have gone by so insanely fast.

Last week Little Miss had her last science class at a local camp. My dad went with us to visit with a friend who he went to high school with and whose son owns the camp. Before we went he asked me what he was supposed to do for three hours.

“I can’t talk to Tom for three hours.”

Yeah. Right.

My dad is a talker. I practically had to drag him away from the camp at the end of the science class.

We left the camp with an extra child. A friend of my daughter came home to play with her. On the way home Dad decided to take a detour up a narrow dirt road to show us a gas well up on a hill near our house.

I didn’t realize there was a natural gas well so close to our house, but I should have known since there are so many around us.

As we drove up a tiny dirt road toward our house, Little Miss asked how close we were to home.

“Remember, when we ride with Grandpa we always go on an adventure,” I told her. “Isn’t that—” I tried to say fun, but she quickly said, “No,” before I could finish my sentence.

My dad cracked up. “Well, that answer was a little too quick.”

What I’m Reading

I struggled with one of the books this week that I agreed to read for a review tour, so I ended up mainly skimming it toward the end.

Now I am on to Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candace Sue Patterson and Songs in the Storm by Kathy Geary Anderson. I’ve actually read Kathy’s book before for a critique group but I’m going to read it again for a review tour.

I’m also reading Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks because Saving Mrs. Roosevelt doesn’t have to be read until December.  So far I am having a very hard time putting Carrie’s book down.

I never read a book for Non-fiction November because I don’t really read a lot of non-fiction books but had already started Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour and am hoping to finish reading it this week. I am partly reading and partly listening to it through the Kindle app on my phone.

This is an eye-opening book about the Palestinian people from the perspective of a Palestinian Christian who was living in Israel when it became a nation and whose family was pushed from the land their family had owned for generations.

Elias Chacour would eventually leave Palestine and Israel as he studied to become a pastor, but returned later.

I am so glad that Notgrass includes this book as part of their World Geography Curriculum because it has certainly painted a new picture for me of what the Palestinian people went through and continue to go through today. The book doesn’t strike out politically against one side or another but expresses Chacour’s desire for the Jewish and Palestinian people to live in peace as they did for hundreds, even thousands of years, with some heartbreaking exceptions. The tilt of the world’s view of Palestinians, describing them as terrorists and the Jews as victims, was a harsh reality for Elias and his friend when they were sent out of the Middle East and to Paris for further, more formal education within the Christian church.

I am reading the rest of this book with anticipation but also trepidation. So much hardship has fallen on Elias and his family by the point in the book that I am at, that I am almost afraid to read what will happen next, yet I desperately want to know how his story ends, or at least to the point of the end of the book.

What I’m Watching

I have had pain in my neck and shoulder from a pinched nerve this week so I have been watching Bob and Brad on YouTube. Have you ever seen these guys? I love them. They are Physical Therapists who have a YouTube channel.

If you’re wondering if their suggestion worked, the answer is, yes, it did. Very well. The pain was gone after a few minutes of trying the chin tuck and the stretching with the towel, and like they suggested, it is something I have been repeating a few times of day since yesterday.

My husband and I watched a couple episodes of Dark Shadows last night. It was interesting. I didn’t know much about it, even though I have heard of it before. If you don’t know, this was a show that ran in the 60s. It was filmed live five days a week for six years, I think it was. It was a show beyond its time. It featured vampires, ghosts, goblins, werewolves, and other supernatural characters, something common today but not as common back then.

I also ran to my comfort food of TV with The Andy Griffith Show to escape the sadness of the world. I wanted to watch The Dick VanDyke Show but the only place I can stream it now offers it with commercials and I didn’t want to watch the commercials.

That’s my week in review. How about all of you? What have you been reading, doing, listening to, or watching? Let me know in the comments.