Through the eyes of these families from Jaffa we understand how the founding of the state of Israel could be simultaneously a moment of jubilation for the Jews, and a disaster - the Naqba - for the 100,000 Arabs who fled Jaffa in 1948, most of them never to return. Jaffa was for centuries the main port of the eastern Mediterranean, home to Muslims, Christians and Jews, while the produce of its orange groves was famed throughout the world. From 1920 the British administered the city under the Mandate and it is in 1920 that Adam LeBor's ambitious and engaging new book begins to tell the history of Israel through the prism of Jaffa. Its inhabitants include the Jewish coffee and spice merchant, the Arab baker who made bread for the whole community, the Palestinian exile who tried to bring modern business methods to the Arafat era and the Jewish schoolgirl who befriended an Arab drug dealer. In this ground-breaking book Adam LeBor goes beyond the media stereotypes to recount a moving human story of a country born of conflict.
Adam LeBor was born in London and read Arabic, International History and Politics at Leeds University, graduating in 1983, and also studied Arabic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He worked for several national British newspapers before becoming a foreign correspondent in 1991. Since then he has travelled extensively in eastern and central Europe and covered the Yugoslav wars for the Independent and The Times. Currently Central Europe Correspondent for The Times he also contributes to the Economist, Literary Review, The Nation, the Jewish Chronicle, Conde Nast Traveller and the Budapest Sun newspaper. His books have been published in nine languages.