Hirsh Goodman's childhood in South Africa was white -- and Jewish -- in ways he did not initially appreciate. While the local culture brutally suppressed the black population, Hirsh and his friends marched off to Zionist Socialist meetings, full of rhetoric about equality, justice, and democracy -- all within the context of Israel. By his midteens, Goodman could no longer ignore South Africa's anti-Semitism and racism. He soon left for Israel, never expecting that the promised land of his dreams would also prove to be riven by ethnic and religious conflict. It was after marching victoriously through the Sinai as a paratrooper in the Six-Day War that Goodman heard David Ben-Gurion on the radio warning that Israel must rid itself of its Arab territories lest it "become an Apartheid state," a warning that had a very specific meaning to the young soldier. Then, as a journalist, Goodman witnessed firsthand all of Israel's subsequent troubles, from frontlines, to occupied zones, to the summits that attempted to find even a temporary peace.
Let Me Create a Paradise is a wise, warm, and wry memoir. It is one man's life story and the story of two divided nations in two different eras; the tragedies in their histories, and the hope that still exists for both of them.