In The Bronze Bow, who or what is Israel?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Israel is the small country on the East bank of the Mediterranean Sea, and the historical land associated with the Jewish People (Hebrews). In The Bronze Bow, Israel is the setting for the narrative, set under Roman occupation sometime between 0 B.C. - 36 A.D. As shown in the book, the land has been contested for centuries, with various religions and political factions laying claim to it at various times. During the Roman occupation, Jews were regarded as second-class citizens and subjected to various forms of abuse.

"Israel has one great strength, mightier than all the power of Rome. It is the Law, given to Moses and our fathers. When the last Roman emperor has vanished from the earth, the Law will still endure. It is to the Law that our loyalty must be devoted."
(Speare, The Bronze Bow, Google Books)

For the purposes of the novel, Israel is the protagonist nation, with Rome as the antagonist nation. Daniel, a young rebel against Roman occupation, struggles with his own allegiance to Israel as well as with his personal emotional problems; he finds friendship outside his rebellion and new ideas of peace and worthwhile action in the teachings of Jesus, who at the time is a simple preacher. Israel plays the part of the cause, the entire reason that Daniel is fighting, but at the end of the book he realizes that he should fight for more than simple revenge.


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