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Books  >>  History

Yossi Klein Halevi

Like Dreamers

Yossi Klein Halevi Like Dreamers The Story Of The Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunite
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Main description:

In June 1967, Israel achieved the unimaginable—a decisive victory against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the Six-Day War. The most symbolic triumph for the young nation was the reunification of Israeli West Jerusalem and Jordanian East Jerusalem, achieved at great cost by a group of paratroopers from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade. In restoring Jewish sovereignty to the Holy City, these men fulfilled the dream of two millennia, changing the history of Israel and of the Middle East. And as veteran journalist Yossi Klein Halevi shows in Like Dreamers, they played pivotal roles in shaping Israel's destiny long after their resounding military success.

A masterful storyteller, Halevi tracks down seven members of the 55th Brigade and traces their lives through the decades following the Six-Day War. But as his narrative reveals, despite the intensity of their shared experience protecting Israel, in their postwar paths they nurture drastically divergent visions for the country's future. Yoel Bin-Nun emerges at the forefront of the religious Zionist West Bank settlement movement, but Arik Achmon—the chief intelligence officer of the 55th—becomes a spiritual father of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Achmon becomes a driving force in the growth of Israel's capitalist economy, whereas Avital Geva, in addition to building a reputation as a leading conceptual artist, ardently defends the socialist kibbutzim. And while Geva is among the foremost activists in Peace Now, Udi Adiv helps create an anti-Zionist terror underground in Damascus, eventually serving twelve years in an Israeli prison.

Charting the ideological differences among this band of brothers, Halevi weaves a nuanced and insightful chronicle of modern Israel. His fascinating, diligently researched examination of each man's motivations and actions—supported by extensive interviews with their friends, family members, and comrades-in-arms—humanizes the country 's complex political landscape, facilitating a deeper understanding of the forces that influence its evolution as a state.

Review quote:

“[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.”

Review quote:

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.”

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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.”

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Like Dreamers is quite simply the best book about modern Israel I have ever read.”

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“A fascinating study of modern Israel.”

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“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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“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.”

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“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.”

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“Powerful…. a textured,

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.


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