Like Dreamers: The Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, published by HarperCollins, tells the history of Israel through the personal experiences over decades of a handful of paratroopers who helped capture the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. The title comes from the Psalms, from “Shir Hamaalot, hayinu k’cholmim, When the Lord returned the exiles to Zion,” wrote The Times of Israel following a recent interview with Halevi. The Jewish Book Council’s Everett Family Foundation winning award for 2013 was announced on Wednesday, February 5.
The New York Times in a book review last October, said “Halevi expertly employs a traditional journalistic form: he isolates seven paratroopers from that “mythic moment” and reconstructs their lives, before and since, to render a complicated history intimate, human, relatable. His meticulous, sensitive, detailed reporting — the book is the work of more than a decade — is incredibly effective at making the small big. Over and over again, anecdotes about one religious settler or one secular kibbutznik resonate as powerful metaphors for the state’s challenges. The personal stories Halevi tells about the establishment of settlements like Kfar Etzion, Ofra and Sebastia change them from political bargaining chips into three-dimensional realities. Caricatures are replaced with nuanced understanding of what was gained and lost as a communitarian farming society transformed itself into an entrepreneurial high-tech haven.”
Halevi, the Brooklyn-born son of a Holocaust survivor who first visited Israel after the 1967 war and moved there in 1982, has his own fraught history: Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist tells of his onetime devotion to the Jewish militant Meir Kahane. At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden recounts his spiritual exploration of mosques and monasteries as a religious Jew.
The program takes place at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue on March 1, 2014 at 8:15 pm. The Jerusalem Great Synagogue is located at 56 King George Street, Jerusalem. The program is free, in English with an enhanced sound system, and is accessible for the physically challenged.
Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and a contributing editor to The New Republic. Halevi’s 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”. Halevi writes regularly for leading American publications, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs.