The Tenth Prayer by Stephen G. Esrati
A Novel of Israel

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Synopsis

The Tenth Prayer tells the story of Israel in its early days. The book follows half a dozen people from the 1930s through 1960 and focuses on  one theme: "Who is a Jew?" That question, which has divided Israel  since independence, is raised by a  character  saying "I want to be a Jew, a Jewish Jew from Palestine." It is raised again by a follower of the Irgun Zvai Leumi who uses "Hebrew" as a nationality. And it is raised again when a whole village of Italian Catholics converts to Judaism during the war and must fight for acceptance as Jews. Finally, it is  raised in the death of a baby of an Israeli Jew and an American Baptist, a baby that cannot be buried under Israeli law.Also touched on are civil rights, freedom of the press, the Law of Return, the Eichmann case, and the little Eichmann case (a Zionist leader accused of helping the Germans),  which leads to unpunished murder. The novel brings the story only to 1960, but it portrays the new country without the adulation of previous English-language fiction, as might be imagined since the main character is the woman who broadcast as the Voice of Fighting Zion, broadcasting station of the Irgun. Other characters include a kibbutz woman who must leave her settlement because her husband voted for the wrong party, an assimilated American Jew who was active in Peter Bergson’s American League for a Free Palestine.One character spends time in a Lebanese concentration camp where this author was the first American hostage in Lebanon.
 

About Stephen G. Esrati

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Stephen G. Esrati,73, a retired Cleveland Plain Dealer editor and prolific philatelic journalist, was among the first American hostages in Lebanon.He worked on the Boston Herald-Traveler, The Celina (Ohio) Daily Standard, the Toronto Globe and Mail, and The Plain Dealer.Born in Berlin in 1927, Esrati moved to Palestine in 1933 and to the United States in 1937. He holds two degrees in political science from Boston University.He served in Italy in the U.S. Army in World War II and was recalled to active duty for the Korean war. He also served in the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a Jewish underground army in Palestine. He was active in the U.S. Army Reserve through 1960, last as a sergeant first class in the 320th Special Forces Group in Boston.His experiences in Special Forces formed part of the background for his earlier novel, Comrades, Avenge Us.Esrati and 60 other men were removed from a U.S. passenger ship, the Marine Carp, in Beirut shortly after Israel declared its independence in 1948. The Lebanese claimed they were “Zionists heading for Palestine to fight.” They were held about six weeks in a former French army barracks in Baalbek that later became the headquarters of Hizbullah.His nonphilatelic writings have appeared in newspapers on three continents.
 
Published July 21, 2000 by Xlibris. 352 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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