Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation

by Yossi Klein Halevi

Book, 2013



Call number

829 KLE



New York, NY : HarperCollins, [2013]


Winner of the Everett Family Jewish Book of the Year Award (a National Jewish Book Award) and the RUSA Sophie Brody Medal. 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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member chasidar
I listened to this on audiobook and even though the quality (Hoopla) wasn't great, I loved it!
It was so interesting and I loved the way Halevi tied together the personal stories of the various paratroopers.
Definitely recommended.
LibraryThing member VGAHarris
Very disjointed, jumps all over and fails to deliver a cogent narrative. The scenes dealing with the reoccupation of East Jerusalem are the strongest part of the account. Other than that it is mostly a commentary on the theory and life on a kibbutz. Disappointing, good material to work with and
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failed to deliver.
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LibraryThing member alancaro
Yossi Klein HaLevi's masterpiece about the movers and shakers of the capture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War and their lives in the ensuing years. Beautifully written and balanced.
LibraryThing member larryerick
This is not so much a review of this book, but a reaction to it, albeit, from someone I don't think the author intended to read it. I'm neither an Israeli nor even a Jew. While I was once engaged to marry a self-described "Jewish princess" and I once studied Judaism in college, it would be best to
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discard the first fact -- it turns out it was a big misunderstanding...she didn't really like me -- and the college professor was emphatically biased toward Christianity and against every other religion. In short, I'm not well versed in the day-to-day nuances of modern Israeli history, and this book basically covers Israel for nearly 40 years, starting with 1967. Like the entire book, the author gives extra importance to a particular event, in this case the Six-Day War, and then embellishes that particular event to mean much more than it really does. He does this by choosing a handful of the paratroopers in that war, and then makes them represent all of Israeli society for the next few decades. In essence, he interlaces multiple biographies together, but with little of the obvious synchronization that might follow a more conventional history, such as all the cadets at West Point in, say 1846, that ended up fighting with or against each other a few years later in the American Civil War. Moreover, the book took a great many historical dates and religious customs for granted for the reader, going far beyond the handful of Jewish holidays that many Americans are familiar with. At times, it seems that nearly everyday and every location in Israel has some deep significance. And everyone seems to take offense that someone else isn't giving that significance due weight. If there is one aspect of this narrative that caught me most off guard, it was how much Israelis apparently dislike each other. There was only one subject of the mini biographies that struck me as more logical than emotional, and even he was chastised by his wife for not caring enough for others reactions to his actions. I'll offer two quotes from the book that get at the heart of the narrative. Almost inevitably the book draws out this conclusion, "How were Israelis to argue with restraint when both right and left were convinced that their opponents prevailed, the state would be not merely diminished but destroyed?" It's at this point the author tries to make this just two sides of an Israeli issue, when throughout the narrative, he repeatedly points out multiple shades of gray. In short, even if a person was supposedly on one side or other of the left/right line, each person also had multiple reasons for disagreeing with others on their "side" why and how they should be "left" or "right". Somewhat later in the book, the author points out, "...the left had been correct about the dangers of occupation, but the right had been correct about the chances of peace." I found this just a little bit funny that he was giving the "sides" so much credit, since neither "side" would have been willing to do so. And that's not even including the Palestinians or other Arabs into the discussion. In the end, I thought this was unnecessarily difficult to absorb, but, nevertheless, extremely enlightening and worthwhile for me to read. Frankly, I'm a bit disturbed that American news media has not done a better job of pointing out the issues raised in this book.
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LibraryThing member Lisa02476
Really learned a lot about Israel after 1967. Found this book vivid in it's portrayal of this group of soldiers who represented various shades of political and religious communities.


0060545763 / 9780060545765
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