Few write on Israel with the eloquence and verve of Yossi Klein Halevi, and fewer still combine the soul of the poet with hard- headed political analysis as does Halevi. He has a new book out shortly — the big book of the year on Israel—and it’s a masterpiece. We who love Israel and want to explain it to others and to ourselves will be the beneficiaries.
“Like Dreamers: The Story of The Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem And Divided A Nation” (see below) is a gripping work of recent history– “the great Israeli epic” as historian and Ambassador Michael Oren calls it. You must read it when it comes out this October, for nothing better explains what has happened (and how) within Israel since the ’67 War.
HaLevi returns his readers to those frightening and then shortly thereafter halcyon June days forty six years ago; he then makes his way over the decades, excavating the lives of seven key figures (four from the Israeli left and three from the right)—all the while capturing how Israel grew divided by the consequences of the Six Day War. The unfolding of the lives of these seven paratroopers is captivating, and the reader, enmeshed in it all, re-enters history as it veers here and there along in its own seemingly barely semi-explicable path. This book closes the gap between the semi and the explicable.
But until this coming Fall delivers “Like Dreamers” into your hands or your e- reader (either way into your hearts), do read the attached painful account of what Yossi Klein Halevi witnessed only last week in Jerusalem–the very night before the historic Ninth of Av. And not just what he saw (and then did), but also the meaning he makes of the events at the end of a train ride at midnight in the holy city.
HaLevi is a masterful storyteller because he knows that stories and history are meant to be decoded– their meaning drawn and then told–in order for understanding to take hold. That is exactly what he does in this account of a small but telling event last week, as well as in his new epic story of the Jewish nation’s triumphs and turmoils over these recent decades.