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

Yossi Klein Halevi
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Winner of the Everett Family Jewish Book of the Year Award (a National Jewish Book Award) and the RUSA Sophie Brody Medal.

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.

Featuring an eight pages of black-and-white photos and maps, 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.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It is probably the most iconic photograph of the 1967 Six-Day War—a group of Israeli paratroopers gazing upward with a look of wonder at the sacred Western Wall, the surviving remnant of the temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. These were men of Brigade 55, a reserve unit primarily responsible for liberating the wall and seizing East Jerusalem from Jordanian control. The photo and the Israeli victory engendered an immediate sense of pride, joy, and euphoria that enveloped Israeli and Diaspora Jews, left and right, secular and religious. Since then, of course, the conquest of Jerusalem and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) has been rather a poisoned pill, dividing Israel politically as it rules over a huge Arab population. Halevi is an American-born Israeli journalist and a promoter of Jewish-Arab reconciliation. Here he tracks the subsequent lives of seven of the Brigade 55 members. Some became staunch proponents of settlement activity on Palestinian land and some became members of the left-wing Peace Now movement. One even helped create an anti-Zionist underground movement. Halevi 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. --Jay Freeman


"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

Product Details

  • File Size: 2443 KB
  • Print Length: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,598 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jews have been praying for "next year in Jerusalem" for 2,000 years. Finally, thanks to these paratroopers Jerusalem is captured in the 1967 war and is now the capital of Israel, although no other country has located its embassy there. Some paratroopers are religious and see the expansion of Israel into the conquered lands of the 1967 war as a logical and a religious duty. Others want to return these lands (Sinai, Golan Heights and Judea/ Samaria) as fast as possible and so it continues today.

The author chooses a small group of paratroopers, who have political views from all 360 degrees (including one IDF soldier who all but joins the Arabs against Israel and is imprisoned when caught) to capture the various political positions of the Israeli people as a whole.

If the book had 5 volumes, then various other ethnic, political and religious Jews would be represented. For Instance, kibbutz members are prominent but the word Moshav never appears. Both these forms of living arrangements are still extant in Israel with roughly an equal number of members. Moshe Dayan was from a Moshav. Ashkenazi Jews are the center of attention and other volumes could deal with Sephardic and Mizrahi elements.

Instead of writing 550 pages of the differences of opinion among Israelis toward Jerusalem, war, settlements etc. that would read like a typical top down history, the author lets you get to know a few individuals so that you see the conflicts Israelis have amongst themselves - from the bottom up so to speak.

Whatever your views on the current situation in Israel, you are presented with a wide array of viewpoints that are strongly held by these courageous soldiers. These viewpoints are often diametrically opposite, but the reader gains perspectives they may not have considered.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Indian Israelophile's Review. November 14, 2013
By Ranger
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Most Indians normally love and admire Israel and the idea of Israel, wish our people were as enterprising as Israelis - and I am no different. I have read many books on Israel, including two excellent books on Israeli entrepreneurship - The Start-Up Nation and The Israel Test by the brilliant George Gilder as well as a book on Israeli history, "O Jesusalem" by Dominique Lappiere . But I have been looking for a "Big Book" on Israel, a book that explains the whole of Israel, that connects its past to its present. This book, by Mr.Halevi addresses that need. Other reviewers have already discussed its story, so I dont need to go into it. I will just say that very rarely have I read a non-fiction book, and a big book, that has been so completely satisfying. I cheered for the heroes and anti-heroes of this book, eagerly turned pages to know what they did and what happened to them - and through their lives, I got to learn more about a country I really like and admire - Israel. Bravo !!
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever written about Modern Israel! October 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Like Dreamers" is the non-fiction "War and Peace" of the Jewish people, and the modern Jewish State. As Tolstoy etched an epic portrait of Russian society in his classic novel, Yossi Klein Halevi also works on a giant historical canvas. And like all great story tellers, he understands that the best way to tell history is through the individuals who live through and often author that history.

This stunning volume traces the lives of seven paratroopers from the 55th, the brigade that was the tip of the spear in the '67 battle for Jerusalem, and later the brigade that crossed the Suez Canal in the '73 Yom Kippur War, thereby turning disaster into victory. There are left-wing peace activists, and religious Zionists, kibbutz socialists, free market entrepreneurs, a gruff conceptual artist who was wounded in the battle for Jerusalem, a neurotic but brilliant musician--Israel's Bob Dylan--who died far too young, and a traitor who went to Syria in order to join anti-Israel terrorists. These men, in one way or another, played a vital role in the birth of the post-Six Day War Israel.

The title "Like Dreamers" comes from Psalm 126, Shir Hamaalot, hayinu k'cholmim, "When the Lord returned the exiles to Zion, we were like dreamers."

The spine of Halevi's book is that Israel's fate is based on two conflicting utopian dreams within the Zionist movement, the religious Zionists, and the secular left-wing kibbutzniks. These men--all Ashkenazi Jews--fought together to defend the state of Israel, and then between wars, these same men, some of them close friends, continued to fight to preserve their personal vision of the Jewish State.

If you want to understand modern Israel in all its glorious complexity, this is the book to read. A great work that sets a new standard for Jewish history.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Israel from the inside out October 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Probably the best book I've read in years. No matter how much you read or know about what makes Israel 'tick', this book gives you that inside out perspective. The format forces you to pay attention though, and it's probably best to read in a few days if you can. Highly recommend.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History you can't put down! October 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Totally magical and realistic at the same time. The book embraces you with its detailed novelistic portraits of events and characters. Reading it I marveled at my ignorance of events that I thought I knew and gained an appreciation for having lived through momentous times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressively researched chronicle of seven lives.
Thought provoking biographical information of 7 paratroopers who fought in the battle for Jerusalem in 1967 and their subsequent, divergent lives.
Published 7 days ago by Fyvl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written and informative.
Published 22 days ago by people for peace
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings to life the diversity; complexity & intensity of Israeli life...
I found this book to be a really fascinating read because of how it so aptly illusrated & brought to life the diversity, complexity & intensity of Israeli life & culture.
Published 1 month ago by Janet L. Sernack
5.0 out of 5 stars How the Power of One Person Can have so much Impact
Possibly the best book Post '67 on Israel that I have read. Unbelievable account of the challenges that both the people of Israel and the country has. Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Shein
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
excellent and informative
Published 1 month ago by Kenwood Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating stories from differing points of view
A little hard to follow all the different stories, but a must read to understand the complexity of the situation in Israel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. Kramer
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was excellent in its portrayal of the many different...
I have spent two years living in Israel and I have read many books on Israel. This book was excellent in its portrayal of the many different mindsets that are found among... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael E. Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Israel
With Israel much in the news this past year, many people find themselves in discussions about Israel’s founding and the evolution of Israeli politics since independence in 1948. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peter G. Pollak
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal view of the growth of five paratroopers ...
A very personal view of the growth of five paratroopers in Israel. An insight into the varied Israeli points of view.
Published 2 months ago by Michael usher
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding insight into the hearts and minds of those who ...
Outstanding insight into the hearts and minds of those who fought for the creation and survival of the State of Israel.
Published 2 months ago by EMW
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More About the Author

Yossi Klein Halevi is an author, thinker and commentator on Jewish and Israeli affairs. His most recent book, Like Dreamers, took the top prize in the 2013 National Jewish Book Awards.

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.

Yossi is active in reconciliation efforts between Muslims and Jews and serves as Chairman of Open House, an Arab-Jewish coexistence center in the town of Ramle, near Tel Aviv.

His newest book is Like Dreamers: The Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation (Harper/Collins, 2013).

His first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, was published in 1995. In 2001, he published, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.

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