Reading Israel

The Gilboa Iris by Zahava D. Englard


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The Gilboa Iris is a blazing tale of romance, deceit and international intrigue - the book merges wit, love, heartbreak and the triumph of the human spirit, telling not only the story of Dara and Roni, but a story of the Jewish people and the land of Israel.

Dara Harow, the daughter of a rocket physicist for the US department of defense, sends her parents into a tailspin of dual-loyalty anxiety when she plans to wed Roni Ben-Ari, an Israeli officer in an elite counter-terrorist unit. When the Harows are targeted by a terror cell in hot pursuit of technology not yet found in any country’s arsenal, Dara finds herself at the center of a hierarchy of terror that threatens her life and the lives of those she loves.

Commenting to Abigail Klein Leichman of the Jewish Standard on this timeless love story, Zahava accurately conveys how the casualties of terror attacks and wars are not only those who die, but those who survive them, and those that are left behind:

“The storyline came out of my experiences of visiting people who’ve lost family members to Arab terror,” she says. “I had all of them in my mind, especially David Hatuel, a father from Gush Katif whom I met a few months after his wife and four daughters were murdered. Knowing what he went through had a huge impact. I also knew that he somehow was able to go on with his life, remarry, and start anew.”

“It’s not an in-your-face pro-Israel book,” says Englard. “I wanted to acquaint people with the human side of life in this country, through characters they could relate to. It’s a novel of personal and national survival, triumph in the face of despair and over evil. As insurmountable as global jihad can be, the human spirit is stronger.”


Read More About The Gilboa Iris


Here are 10 questions from the author to aid you and your fellow readers in a unique exploration of The Gilboa Iris!

  • With Dara’s father working in the US Defense Department, Dara’s parents are concerned about accusations of dual loyalty. Being that Israel is an ally of the United States, do you think their fears are legitimate?
  • Do you think Roni did the right thing by Dara in feigning his own death?
  • What do you think your reaction would be to Roni’s reasons for his disappearing act?
  • Do you feel that The Gilboa Iris provides non-Israelis, Jew and non-Jew alike an insight to life in Israel and a better understanding to the Jewish nation’s connection to the Land of Israel?
  • With global terror at an all-time high and with the consistent news reports of the atrocities committed not only in the Middle East, but in Europe and the US as well, do you personally feel more vulnerable to the threat of terror?
  • Have you ever tried to imagine what your reaction would be in the face of losing a loved one in a terrorist attack?
  • Do you think Dara’s way of dealing with the murder of her family was presented realistically? How would you have conveyed her reaction differently?
  • The Gilboa Iris is a novel that contains elements of romance, suspense, violence and historical fiction. Which element did you enjoy most? Which did you enjoy least?
  • Is there any part of the story that impacted you most?
  • What message, if any, does The Gilboa Iris give the reader?

The Reading Israel Book Club: Bring us to your community and be inspired!

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Throughout the year, the Reading Israel Book Club of Israel Forever brings you a new literary delight to grow your Israel connection through the written word.

We hope that you enjoy our selections and participate in discussion not only with your friends and family but with an international community of readers in our open discussion group on Facebook.


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