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

4.6 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

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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

Review

"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: 4377 KB
  • Print Length: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2013
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BATNP4I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,923 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a character study of seven remarkable Israeli paratroopers who were instrumental in the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in June 1967 and the trailblazing roles they played in shaping modern Israel, for good or for bad, over the next 37 years. Chapters deal with the hero of 1967 Moshe Dayan's abject failure to appreciate the ominous warning signs ahead of the near-fatal 1973 Yom Kippur War, Anwar Sadat's momentous 1977 visit and the peace treaty which followed, Ariel Sharon's disastrous 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the pernicious effects of the settler movement, the first and second intifadas, trying to deal with the duplicitous Yasser Arafat, and Israel's emergence into an economic and military powerhouse.

The problem with Halevi's book is the desultory and plodding manner in which so much of the historical and biographical detail is presented. I had to force myself to finish the book, which I succeeded in doing, but I hesitate to recommend it to others.
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I have visited Israel. I have Israeli friends. I have Palestinian friends. (This is inevitable if you spend any significant time in Israel, I hope.) I come from a partly-Jewish family of Israelophiles. I have studied, pondered, wondered and worried about that country. Physically so beautiful, politically so pyrotechnic, culturally so divided. Ultimately so crazy. Terrifyingly unsustainable. "Like Dreamers" does the best job of presenting myriad Israeli dilemmas on a human scale of anything I have read. It does not provide what we would typically consider comfort, but it does provide a measure of understanding of how different men grew to have wildly divergent views of the just aims of a nation. There are no monsters, here. These are ordinary men of varying gifts who are honorable in their different ways, with their different values.

This is a wonderful, wonderful work. It should be read.
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