I just finished a novel by Naomi Ragen, titled, ”The Covenant.” I happened across this book while wandering through a local thrift store. I was strongly compelled to pick it up and I read the dust jacket. Then, I randomly scanned a few pages. I have not regretted my purchase. I believe the dedicatory says it better than I, concerning the purpose of this book and the story Ms Regan weaves so well.
“For all victims of terror, and those who loved them. May God Comfort all mourners and wipe the tears from all faces”.
This is an intensely personal representation of those whose lives have been devastated by terrorism. (Ms Regan and her family were present at the Passover Massacre in the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002 when a suicide bomber killed twenty-nine and wounded hundreds.) The conflict “continues” as we are introduced to the characters: A Jewish doctor, his wife (who is in the latter stages of a difficult pregnancy), and their daughter come face to face with a horror that seems too awful to bear. It is also a story of survival that spans generations. The young wife’s grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz and we see in her and her three friends what it means to be a survivor, and the bond that developed between them, making them family and more. We see how these four made a covenant, while in Auschwitz, that will affect all their lives in this crisis.
Ms Regan does a wonderful job developing the characters, plot and conflict quickly. The use of time, date, location stamp at the beginning of each chapter and major scene change keeps you on track with the flow and interdependence of the themes and story line. The indomitable spirit of these characters who refuse to be mere victims of such a cowardly act of terrorism is the strength of the story.
Personally, there were passages that made my blood boil with the desire to extract vengeance on the ideologues who in their ignorance and self-deception, aid cowardly fanatics in their terrorist agendas. There were passages of great empathy for the main characters who were dealing with a situation that I would find unbearable. She does an outstanding job of relating the politics of lies and the international bias against Jews and how Israel and the Jewish people are portrayed in the media and on the world stage.
By the time I finished the book I felt I knew the characters and had lived through this ordeal with them, but then it struck me like a bolt of lightening: This is the story of all those who have been attacked by terrorists. I was stunned to research the shear number of Israelis who have been attacked by such terrorists since the intifada Arafat started after Sharon visited the Temple Mount. I wept for all those who have suffered because a few old terror mongers realized that by perpetuating lies and keeping a population disenfranchised and oppressed (mainly through their own greed and corruption) they could maintain political control and get rich in the process. (I digress) I wept for Israel and I wept for Jerusalem. Shaalu Shalom Yerushaliim.