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Israel's Edge: The Story of The IDF's Most Elite Unit - Talpiot Paperback – February 15, 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...you, the alumni of Talpiot, have stood at the forefront of the Israeli security-technology industry making... you are the flagship of the research and development systems of our security. --Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel's Edge,...sheds light on the strategically vital and secretive Talpiot IDF program, which trains select groups of soldiers in how to conduct cutting edge defense research and development.

Asked why he (Jason Gewirtz) chose to write about this particular topic, the CNBC executive said, There is no other program like Talpiot in the world and it has had an enormous impact on Israel. It is also benefiting the world in a very positive way.

...Each Talpiot graduate can make a one percent difference in a conflict or battle. They do it through technology, of course, but it is that technological advantage that gives Israel the edge it needs.

Israel must defend itself through a qualitative advantage and that is what Talpiot gives Israel the tools for this qualitative advantage that is so necessary for Israel, and the Jewish people's survival. --Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post

Throughout the years, Talpiot has included and established a wide variety of unique and amazing tools that have been able to multiply the efficiency and strength of the intelligence services and military might of the IDF immeasurably. --Former Prime Minister and former Defense Minister, Ehud Barak

Israel's Edge is a well written look at how a new and vital department of the Israeli military came into being and its huge impact on the military as well as society. I learned a lot about a country that I have always been interested in and the detailed descriptions of wars, historic meetings, and momentous decisions rang true.

It is obvious from the first page that Jason Gewirtz researched this topic thoroughly. I read quite a lot of military books, both fiction and non-fiction, but I had never heard of Talpiot, which is now Israel's most elite unit. --Ray Simmons, Readers Favorite 5-Star Review

There is a new book out that is a must read for Israel fans and military buffs alike. Talpiot has been tasked with keeping Israel a generation ahead of a rapidly strengthening and technologically capable Iran, making this book extremely timely. There's something in here for history buffs, military watchers, people interested in technology and education and of course anyone interested in Israel and the Middle East. --Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, The Times of Israel

Today, the program's contributions and importance are proven and felt more than ever.--Former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi

The Talpiot unit accentuates one of the most eminent sources of strength of the State of Israel: its human capital. --President Shimon Peres

CyberArc, a great company. CheckPoint as well. Both come from the Israel Defense Forces. CNBC Producer Jason Gewirtz coming out with a great book, Israel's Edge, about these kinds of companies that come from the IDF. It's a natural tie, that's why these stocks have done so well. --Jim Cramer, CNBC

If you went on a recruiting trip with Talpiot officers you d find 16 and 17 year old's who are simply amazing. It's like the NBA going after young ballplayers...It's actually also a good business book, part education book and part military book...The disaster of the Yom Kippur really gave birth to Talpiot and this push for modern day technology. --Nachum Segal: JM in the AM

This book is on a unique subject and an outstanding achievement. --IDF Brigadier General Uzi Eilam, former Director of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission

This is a very important and interesting book. If you want to know how Israel's military works, this is the book to read. Go out and get it. --Larry Kudlow, Nationally-syndicated talk radio host

Talpiot, the so-called Mensa of Israeli military intelligence and innovation. --Jonathan Mark, Associate Editor, Jewish Week

A comprehensive look at what many consider to be the most elite unit in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)...It also explains Talpiot's highly successful recruiting methods and discloses many of the secrets of the program's success... No other military unit has had more of an impact on the State of Israel and no other unit will have more of an impact in the years ahead. --Matzav.com

Israel's Edge is a mesmerizing story of how Israel gained an edge over its far bigger enemies. It explains how the IDF became invincible. This book tells the story of a heroic people who have survived against all odds and produced the best minds. It is a must-read if you want to understand Israel and the IDF. --The Washington book Review

About the Author

As executive producer for the business network CNBC, Jason Gewirtz has covered Israel and Israeli business including working for the network from northern Israel during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and following Warren Buffett to the country when the billionaire investor bought the metalworking company ISCAR, his first foreign purchase. Jason has also covered the attacks from Gaza on southern Israeli towns like Sderot and examined the economic impact. He produced Beyond the Barrel: The Race to Fuel the Future which was shot on five continents and was largely focused on several Israeli-born energy technologies. He currently produces Power Lunch, which is broadcast live every day jointly from CNBC's global headquarters and the New York Stock Exchange and can be viewed all over the world.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing House (February 15, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652297135
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652297136
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Talpiot graduate (Class IX) I was extremely impressed with the breadth and depth of research concerning the Talpiot program as covered by the author in this book. I can personally attest to the accuracy of many of the events outlined in the book having lived through them and having shaped others.
Talpiot is one of the crown achievements of the IDF. In a way it is a typical Israeli story: define an outrageous goal and then over deliver on it by a mile.
Yes, life during the program was hard - My class (Talpiot IX) displayed the following waterfall: 8,000 applicants (all come from the top of their high school) -> 29 candidates -> 19 graduates after 3 years of the toughest academic studies and a most grueling military training.
This by far was a defining period in my life, but more importantly a defining initiative for the IDF.
The book is such a great read for anyone who is interesting in learning more about a milestone chapter in the history of modern Israel.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A very interesting and thought provoking work!
The way Americans revere entertainers and athletes Israelis are awed and have utmost respect for Talpiot graduates.
The why, how, and history of how that came to be are in this book
Excellent read for anyone interested in military strategy, technological advancements, and the inner workings of how this tiny nation-state embedded in a sea of hatred stays ahead of those who wish to destroy it.
Well written, intricately described but fast-paced, even laugh out loud humorous at times
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you can somehow divorce yourself from the politics and the rancor of the Arab-Israeli conflict for just a moment, you just might see that Israel is the greatest aspirational success story of the last 100 years. A big reason why is its incredible amount of human capital and brain power. This book documents the latest and maybe greatest aspect of Israel's self-reliance and awareness of what it needs to succeed and survive. While the rest of the world and the politicians keep talking about how to somehow uplift those with no skills or assets, Talpiot is an example of how encouraging and utilizing those with the best skills is a more wise pursuit.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Like many of the other reviewers, I had never heard of Talpiot before reading this book. But Gewirtz brought the program and it's people to life. A great story, well told, with lots of lessons for the rest on the world in taking on terrorists.
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I loved this book! Fast read, interesting topic and thoroughly researched. I had never heard of the IDF's Talpiot unit previously -- fascinating group of elite men and women. I highly recommend this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
ISRAEL’S EDGE: THE STORY OF THE IDF’S MOST ELITE UNIT - TALPIOT written by Jason Gewirtz and published by Gefen Publishing House.
IDF is the Israel Defense Force
Talpiot is a Hebrew word meaning ‘tall turrets’ and/or ‘sturdy strongholds’
MAFAT is the acronym for Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure established in the early 1980s by Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and used as the ‘umbrella’ for all things R&D in the Israeli Military

The Yom Kippur War (October 1973) caught Israel a bit off guard. There was much soul-searching among military and government leaders, as well as fear and anxiety.
“How did this fiasco happen?” Israel asked itself.
In the years before the war, Israel was engaged in constant war and military preparedness. Also, many Arab nations were receiving mass shipments of arms from the Soviet Union. There were also new weapons and technology being used against Israel.
Israel was caught ‘napping’, so to speak. Two professors at Hebrew University, Professor Shaul Yatziv and Professor Felix Dothan, wanted to give Israel its edge back. Their idea or goal was to rearm Israel with the best and the brightest young minds who would work exclusively on research and development for the IDF.
It took several years to get the government and especially the IDF behind their idea. In 1977, Menachem Begin became Prime Minister and Rafael Eitan was appointed chief of staff. They were both committed to change and an elite educated unit in the army. Talpiot was finally born.
Many organizational details had to be worked out - the recruitment process; the admissions process; curriculum; teachers; examinations; program structure and the partnership and the cooperation of the IDF and MAFAT.
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Format: Paperback
Israel's Edge

After the 1973 war Professors Dothan and Yatziv got together and worked on a program to develop a unit of the army so that Israel would be ahead on defense and not see the losses suffered in the Yom Kippur war. It took till the Begin government came to power in 1977 when a shakeup was on the cards and Rafi Eitan as Chief of Staff set Benji Machnes to go ahead with this program.Later Dan Shomron as Chief of Staff gave it support and in 1978 this program got going.
Talpiot is biblical Hebrew for "tall turrets / leadership" The book covers much about advanced scientific education in Israel looking for the countries best students as well as military problems that had to be solved. General conscription in Israel means that the army can take the state’s best high school talent and use it before the soldiers go out into industry. They had to figure out which candidates were potential innovators. They set up this military collage in dormetories of the Hebrew university in Jerusalem

Great inventions come about in war time, but Israel has always been at war and the book follows the changes in what has happened in the Middle East and how new methods had to be developed to solve new problems in the army, navy and air force as well as cyber-attack on the country. The army had to adapt to the Lebanese War in 1982, later the intifada, followed by the Scuds from Iraq and the Gaza rockets which resulted in Israel inventing the Iron Dome and after that ways of dealing with the tunnels build by Hamas.
The book also discusses army Unit 820 this is of computer geeks and they have to deal with cyber warfare against Israel, after they leave army there is no computer problem they cannot solve.
Some Talpiot people went into medical bio engineering products.
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