The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation
by Yossi Klein Halevi
About The Book
Interweaving the stories of a group of 1967 paratroopers who liberated Jerusalem, the acclaimed international journalist traces the history of Israel from the Six Day War to the present
In June 1967, Israel won a swift and decisive victory in the Six Day War. Many of the soldiers responsible for that triumph would become the nation’s future leaders, including the young paratroopers of reservists’ Brigade 55, the unit responsible for restoring Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem. Yet within a few years, these brothers in arms found themselves heading conflicting political movements that would shape Israeli society and its politics.
Through extensive reporting, Yossi Klein Halevi explores the lives of seven members of Brigade 55- a popular songwriter, a soldier-turned-radical, a brilliant economist, and religious revolutionaries-and traces their evolving beliefs. Emerging from a religious Zionist background, one group became founders and leaders of the West Bank settlement movement. The other-peace activists who grew out of the world of secular agrarian communes known as kibbutzim-rose in opposition to the settlements. Both groups agreed that Jewish statehood was a powerful, transformative event: For the founders of the kibbutz-based peace movement, Israel would become the laboratory for democratic communism. For many religious Zionists, Israel would become the catalyst for the messianic era.
With a supporting cast of family members, politicians, and rabbis, Halevi captures the urgency of a victorious nation determined to define itself. Following the men of Brigade 55 over four decades, he adds a human dimension to the divergent movements that have had a major influence on this country and this volatile region, and provides a fascinating, in-depth portrait of modern Israel itself.
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