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

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Overview

In Like Dreamers, acclaimed journalist Yossi Klein Halevi interweaves the stories of a group of 1967 paratroopers who reunited Jerusalem, tracing the history of Israel and the divergent ideologies shaping it from the Six-Day War to the present.

Following the lives of seven young members from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, the unit responsible for restoring Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, Halevi reveals how this band of brothers played pivotal roles in shaping Israel's ...

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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 Like Dreamers, acclaimed journalist Yossi Klein Halevi interweaves the stories of a group of 1967 paratroopers who reunited Jerusalem, tracing the history of Israel and the divergent ideologies shaping it from the Six-Day War to the present.

Following the lives of seven young members from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, the unit responsible for restoring Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, Halevi reveals how this band of brothers played pivotal roles in shaping Israel's destiny long after their historic victory. While they worked together to reunite their country in 1967, these men harbored drastically different visions for Israel's future.

One emerges at the forefront of the religious settlement movement, while another is instrumental in the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. One becomes a driving force in the growth of Israel's capitalist economy, while another ardently defends the socialist kibbutzim. One is a leading peace activist, while another helps create an anti-Zionist terror underground in Damascus.

Like Dreamers is a nuanced, in-depth look at these diverse men and the conflicting beliefs that have helped to define modern Israel and the Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Library Journal - Audio
★ 04/01/2014
Halevi (At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden) describes the divergent personal lives and politics of seven paratroopers—a songwriter, a soldier-turned-radical, a brilliant economist, and religious revolutionaries—from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade who in 1967 liberated Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. Each man believed strongly in building the State of Israel, but their methods were poles apart. Mel Foster does an exceptional job reading this fascinating history. His Hebrew pronunciation is excellent, as are the various accents he uses when he reads direct quotes from historical figures who played prominent roles in the narrative. VERDICT An excellent purchase for history and Middle Eastern conflict collections of academic and public libraries.—Ilka Gordon, Aaron Garber Lib., Cleveland
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: 9781452668758
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/23/2013
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Yossi Klein Halevi is the author of At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden and Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist. A frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of leading newspapers and magazines, he is a contributing editor to the New Republic and a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Mel Foster has narrated over 150 audiobooks and has won several awards. Twice an Audie finalist for 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Bracelen Flood and Finding God in Unexpected Places by Philip Yancey, he won for the latter title.

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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.

    2 out of 2 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

    1 out of 1 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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