Joseph Roth: Peerless Novelist of Exile

Oct. 27 2014

Joseph Roth, one of the great Jewish writers of the 20th century, is still not well-known today, but recent translations have brought his work to an English-speaking audience. Born in the northeastern reaches of the Austro-Hungarian empire in what is now Ukraine, he spent most of his adult life in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris and was a prolific author of essays and novels. Much of his fiction deals with the lost world of pre-World War I Austria and the trauma of the empire’s collapse. Anka Muhlstein comments on the range of Roth’s literary abilities:

If Job, the most Jewish of all Roth’s novels, ends with a miracle—after a terrible stay in New York where he emigrated to protect his family, Mendel Singer, the humble Jew, finds happiness once again living with his only surviving son—The Leviathan finishes with a shipwreck. The Leviathan is written with the simplicity of a fairy tale. One of the most striking aspects of Roth’s talent is the stunning diversity of his style. During those very last years of exile, he ranged in tone from a book that’s half detective thriller, half spy novel, reminiscent of Dostoevsky in Confession of a Murderer, to the bright and lyrical style of The Leviathan.

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Read more at New York Review of Books

More about: Austria-Hungary, Galicia, Jewish literature, Joseph Roth

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror