(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Commissioned by the left-liberal Israeli weekly KOTERET RASHIT to write an account of Arabs living beyond the Green Line--the border between pre-1967 and post-1967 Israel--David Grossman spent seven weeks traveling in the West Bank to interview both Arab and Jewish residents. The product of his investigation, THE YELLOW WIND, appeared in May, 1987, well before the Arab uprising, but it movingly reveals the conditions that were to spark the riots and demonstrations.

Grossman is disturbed, and disturbing, as he tells of a man whose house has been destroyed because a son turned terrorist, of a child whose doll is confiscated at the Allenby Bridge even though a soldier carefully disassembled it to check for explosives, of a young man who spends weeks in prison for no reason. However well-intentioned Israel was in 1967, in many ways the lives of the Arabs in the West Bank have not improved.

While graphically documenting the price the Arabs pay for Israeli rule, Grossman’s main concern is the cost to Israel, which he regards as nothing less than the loss of the country’s soul. No occupying force can remain moral, and the Arabs are too numerous to be absorbed into the country; if Israel granted them full citizenship, they would control the government in a few decades and so destroy the Jewish character of the country. Grossman therefore urges the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza, lest the fabled yellow wind swirl out of the east to set the land ablaze and destroy the evildoers.