Israel and Palestine: Resources to Deepen Understanding

If recent international events have raised questions for you or inspired a desire to more deeply understand the current conflict in the Middle East, the following list of resources—from different perspectives—may be useful to provide additional context and insight for community members of all ages.

Books for Children and Teens

Global Conflict

A picture book to help guide conversations with children, especially kindergartners through third graders, to begin to understand global struggles and discover ways children can help. 

Ida in the Middle

An important coming-of-age story that explores identity, place, voice and belonging, from the perspective of a Palestinian-American girl, written by a Jewish American author and recommended for sixth graders and up.

The Lemon Tree

Recommended for readers in sixth grade and above, this is the true story of the unexpected friendship between Bashir Khairi, a Palestinian man of Arab ancestry, and Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, an Israeli woman of Jewish descent.

Wishing Upon the Same Stars

In this recent novel written for fifth graders and up, 12-year-old Yasmeen Khoury slowly makes friends with and her Jewish neighbor, Ayelet Cohen, although she feels like she has to hide these friendships, especially from her Palestinian father, a native of Jerusalem. 

Yaffa and Fatima

Inspired by traditional Jewish and Arab tales that usually feature brothers, this female-oriented picture book story is told in folkloric style and adds a multicultural emphasis. 

Books for Adults

Can We Talk About Israel?

New Israel Fund CEO Sokatch authors an informative primer on one of the world's most fiercely debated issues, written for adults and published in 2021. 

In Search of Fatima

In this 2019 memoir written for adults, Ghada Karmi describes her life, her childhood in Palestine, the flight to Britain after the catastrophe of 1948 and her struggle to get a university grant to study medicine.

My Country, My Life

The 2018 memoir of one of Israel's soldier-statesmen and one-time Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, with insights into forging peace in the Middle East.

My Promised Land

Authur Ari Shavit examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition and asks difficult but important questions in this 2018 publication for adult readers.

On Palestine

This 2015 book published for adults includes a nuanced approach to Palestine’s history and discusses the road ahead for Palestinians. 

The Hundred Years' War on Palestine

A history, published for an adult audience in 2020, of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict told from the Palestinian perspective. 

The Shortest History of Israel and Palestine

An accessible, balanced history to understand how the Israel-Palestine conflict originated and developed over the past century, published in 2023 for an adult audience.

Online Research

Access to timely information from various sources can help us understand different perspectives on an issue. The resources here can all be accessed for free (without a paywall)—all you need is your library card.

Topical Webinar Scheduled for Thursday, February 29, 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM

If you’d like to also explore these topics in community, County of San Mateo, opens a new window has arranged for a special webinar: Honoring our Shared Humanity: Countering Islamophobia and Antisemitism, opens a new window, on Thursday, February 29, at 5:00 PM. This event is intended to increase understanding and belonging as we acknowledge the experiences of many Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian and Arab communities—among others in San Mateo Countyand strive towards connecting across our shared humanity.    

The live event will feature Maha Elgenaidi and Karen Stiller, Muslim and Jewish speakers from the ING Interfaith Speakers Bureau, in a facilitated conversation and Q&A with Pastor Bussey, co-chair of the Peninsula Solidarity Cohort. The webinar will address the following topics:  

  • Understanding the history of Islamophobia and antisemitism and how they manifest today. 
  • How to counter both forms of bigotry. 

Interpretation will be available in Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish.    

Whether you are most comfortable exploring this topic alone or by learning in a group settingonline or via the printed wordwe hope you can discover something new and meaningful along the way.