Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation [NOOK Book]

Overview

In June 1967, Israel achieved the unimaginable—a decisive victory against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the Six-Day War. The most symbolic triumph for the young nation was the reunification of Israeli West Jerusalem and Jordanian East Jerusalem, achieved at great cost by a group of paratroopers from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade. In restoring Jewish sovereignty to the Holy City, these men fulfilled the dream of two millennia, changing the history of Israel and of the Middle East. And as veteran journalist ...

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Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation

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Overview

In June 1967, Israel achieved the unimaginable—a decisive victory against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the Six-Day War. The most symbolic triumph for the young nation was the reunification of Israeli West Jerusalem and Jordanian East Jerusalem, achieved at great cost by a group of paratroopers from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade. In restoring Jewish sovereignty to the Holy City, these men fulfilled the dream of two millennia, changing the history of Israel and of the Middle East. And as veteran journalist Yossi Klein Halevi shows in Like Dreamers, they played pivotal roles in shaping Israel's destiny long after their resounding military success.

A masterful storyteller, Halevi tracks down seven members of the 55th Brigade and traces their lives through the decades following the Six-Day War. But as his narrative reveals, despite the intensity of their shared experience protecting Israel, in their postwar paths they nurture drastically divergent visions for the country's future. Yoel Bin-Nun emerges at the forefront of the religious Zionist West Bank settlement movement, but Arik Achmon—the chief intelligence officer of the 55th—becomes a spiritual father of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Achmon becomes a driving force in the growth of Israel's capitalist economy, whereas Avital Geva, in addition to building a reputation as a leading conceptual artist, ardently defends the socialist kibbutzim. And while Geva is among the foremost activists in Peace Now, Udi Adiv helps create an anti-Zionist terror underground in Damascus, eventually serving twelve years in an Israeli prison.

Charting the ideological differences among this band of brothers, Halevi weaves a nuanced and insightful chronicle of modern Israel. His fascinating, diligently researched examination of each man's motivations and actions—supported by extensive interviews with their friends, family members, and comrades-in-arms—humanizes the country 's complex political landscape, facilitating a deeper understanding of the forces that influence its evolution as a state.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Ethan Bronner
Mr. Halevi…has created a textured, beautifully written narrative by focusing on seven men…who served in the paratroop brigade that conquered the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 war. The seven took distinct paths, a few becoming settler leaders, others active on the left, and in the arts and music…By accompanying these men across the decades we gain a close understanding of many of the country's internal debates. There is much to admire in this book, especially Mr. Halevi's skill at getting inside the hearts and minds of these seven men. He writes with precision and economy, and is especially good at descriptions.
The New York Times Book Review - Jodi Rudoren
[Halevi's] meticulous, sensitive, detailed reporting…is incredibly effective at making the small big. Over and over again, anecdotes about one religious settler or one secular kibbutznik resonate as powerful metaphors for the state's challenges…the ways these former soldiers' experiences intertwine with better-known names and historical events turn the book from a riveting narrative into a primer on Israel's problematic reality…compared with so many books about Israel, Like Dreamers…is not a polemic, or even an argument. It is refreshingly free of prescriptive language and judgment about a subject too often overwhelmed by people screaming past one another. Halevi depicts the religious Zionists who flouted the law to build early West Bank settlements with the same care and understanding as he does the secular businessmen and artist-peaceniks who see the settlements as immoral obstacles to progress.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
American-Israeli author and journalist Halevi (Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist) traces the personal and religious lives and evolving political views of seven paratroopers who helped conquer the Old City of Jerusalem during the1967 Six Day War. They prove a remarkably diverse group: one joins an anti-Zionist movement and is lured into working for Syrian intelligence; another helps found the right-wing settlement movement Gush Emunim; and a third becomes his generation’s most iconoclastic, if underappreciated, songwriter. Halevi traces his subjects’ involvement with, and their country’s shifting moods during, key post-1967 events like the Yom Kippur War and the (first) Lebanon War, the 1993 Israel-PLO agreement, the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada. He skillfully relates lesser-known events—such as the January 1995 Beit Lid bombing—and conveys the ever-changing nature of Israeli culture and religious life. He also succinctly evinces the national psychology when he writes that “in Israel, no trauma was ever really forgotten, only replaced by a new trauma.” Halevi’s book is executed with imagination, narrative drive, and, above all, deep empathy for a wide variety of Israelis, and the result is a must-read for anyone with an interest in contemporary Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Oct.)
Booklist (starred review)
“[Halevi] tracks the…lives of seven of the Brigade 55 members.… [He] succeeds in his broader goal of linking these men and their families to Israel’s history during the past five decades. This is a beautifully written and sometimes heartbreaking account of these men, their families, and their nation.”
David Laskin
“Brilliant.”
Jeffrey Goldberg
“A magnificent book, one of the two or three finest books about Israel I have ever read…. Nothing explains more eloquently why Israel, more than most any other country, lives or dies based on the power and justice of its animating ideas.”
Jewish Voice
“As a work of political, cultural, and religious history, Like Dreamers is a triumph.”
American Jewish World News
“Yossi Klein Halevi’s brilliant account of Israel’s left-right divide is a spellbinding story of people’s evolving views and of conquest’s mixed blessings.”
From the Publisher
"Halevi's book is executed with imagination, narrative drive, and, above all, deep empathy for a wide variety of Israelis, and the result is a must-read for anyone with an interest in contemporary Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Ethan Bronner
“Powerful…. a textured, beautifully written narrative…. There is much to admire in this book, especially Mr. Halevi’s skill at getting inside the hearts and minds of these seven men.”
Elliott Abrams
“Mr. Halevi’s masterly book brings us into [the]…debate and the lives of those who live it, not through fiction but through a factual account illuminated by his own intelligence and empathy.”
New York Post
“A fascinating study of modern Israel.”
Times of Israel
Like Dreamers is an eye-opening, beautifully written account, told through the lives of seven iconic Israeli paratroopers, of the shaping of the state we live in.”
Don Futterman
Like Dreamers is a big book, perhaps the big book on Israel we have been waiting for…. [It] is a remarkable feat of reporting, thrilling, painful, and brilliantly recounted, and an unparalleled portrait of Israel’s last five decades.”
Jewish Week
“Brilliant…. It would make a terrific movie, or even a new book in the Bible…”
video review NY1
“With compassion and moral imagination, Mr. Halevi helps us see why each side came to the conclusions that it did. In the process, he gives us an unforgettable taste of what he calls ‘the agonizing complexity of Israel’s dilemmas’.”
Tower magazine
Like Dreamers is a sweeping work… a rich and complex narrative…. And it reads like a novel.”
New Jersey Jewish News
“In his new, magisterial book about Israel, Like Dreamers…Yossi Klein Halevi has… captured the complexity of Israel in human terms.”
Michael Oren
“Yossi Klein Halevi has written the Israeli epic.”
Jonathan Rosen
Like Dreamers is quite simply the best book about modern Israel I have ever read.”
Samuel G. Freedman
“Yossi Klein Halevi has long been the most incisive and eloquent journalist writing from Israel for an American audience. This is his masterpiece. ”
Zev Chafets
Like Dreamers is at once magisterial and enthralling, observed with the sharp eye of a master journalist, the patience of a serious historian and the style of an exceptional storyteller.”
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
The story of the Israeli 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, which was instrumental in the victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. In the ensuing years, the members of the 55th came to represent the deep political, cultural and religious divisions in Israel. Shalom Hartman Institute scholar Halevi (At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land, 2001, etc.) relates the history of Israel from 1967 to the present by focusing on a handful of individuals from the old 55th and interweaving their divergent and arresting stories. There are, of course, somewhat detailed accounts of wars (1967, 1973--maps included), terrorist attacks, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and negotiations with the PLO and others, but for the most part, Halevi allows his cast members to tell their stories. Among them are Yisrael Harel, who became a journalist; Avital Geva, who eventually had a career in art that dovetailed with his kibbutz life; Yoel Bin-Nun, a Zionist and kibbutz leader; Arik Achmon, whose career varied from aviation to business consultation and politics; Meir Ariel, who became "the greatest Hebrew poet-singer of his generation," then segued into religious studies; Udi Adiv, who became an active anti-Zionist, spent 12 years in prison and then earned a doctorate in London before returning to Israel to teach. Halevi also follows the personal lives of his principals, covering marriages, divorces, family relationships, and children, and he shows how some of them became political and religious opponents. Among the most divisive issues: the surrender of lands (the Sinai, the West Bank) gained in 1967, the issue of settlements in disputed territories, and the debate about "peace at any cost" and Zionism itself. An artful, affecting blend of history, biography, political science, and religion and an illustration of how small lights can illuminate a large landscape.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062274823
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 68,431
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a contributing editor of the New Republic. An internationally respected commentator on Israeli and Middle Eastern affairs, he writes regularly for leading American publications, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs. He is author of At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land and Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Sarah, a landscape designer; they have three children.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Highly recommended

    A wonderfully well written book covering the lives of six young paratroopers from the time they seized the Dome of the Rock in the Six Day War until present day. Each had an entirely different personality, and social and economic views. The book was built around their lives and the sharp disagreements between the old line secular religious left wing kibbutzim and the ultra religious right wing Israelis, which kept the country in a sharp divide while they still had to fight Arab terrorism. It made me understand the internal problems in the only democracy in the Near East, a book anyone who is interested in Israel should read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    highly recommend

    Yossi Halevi's book "Like Dreamers" is an exciting and accurate account of life as a paratrooper in the IDF; it a vivid description of the various people from different backgrounds within the kibbutz movement, which for the most part were socialistic and secular and their juxtaposition with paratroopers from the Dati (Orthodox) community,as well as a heart-wrenching presentation of the changes in attitude that can take place when one goes to war read this excellent book. As a former Army paratrooper, an individual who conducted research on kibbutzim in 1990-91, and follow-up studies in Israel in 2003-04 I could relate to all aspects of the Halevi book. If you have an deep interest in the evolution over the past 65 years of Israel, or military life in a country surrounded and outnumber by those who wish to kill you and your family, and/or an accurate and passionate description of the how and why communal life on how kibbutzniks and kibbutzim evolved in the last 4 decades read this extremely well-written book. The factual information, insights, and writing style of Halevi should rivet you to this book.
    Charles L. Richman, PhD

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

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    Posted January 16, 2014

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