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1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Tom Segev , Jessica Cohen


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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Today we know that Israel's triumph in 1967 was a Pyrrhic victory. Tom Segev's 1967 makes that more clear than anything written on the subject . . . Segev documents this historic tragedy brilliantly, authoritatively, as no one has before."--Amos Elon, Ha'aretz
 
"Tom Segev's 1967 offers a brilliant description of the Six Day War in its widest context: the international scene, the Middle Eastern confrontations, the political and social situation of Israel, as well as fascinating snippets of everyday life. The crucial role of individual actors is deftly woven into the general picture, the description of the military events is enthralling. This is probably the best book on those most fateful days in the history of Israel and the Middle East."--Saul Friedlander, author of The Years Of Extermination: Nazi Germany And The Jews, 1939-1945
 
"The year 1967 divides the history of Israel in two: what came before and what came after. Tom Segev's book makes this abundantly clear, and demonstrates the difference between a military victory and a political one."--Daniel Barenboim

Synopsis

1967 did not mark the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it was a year that changed the course of history. When Egypt's President Nasser closed the straits of Tiran to Israeli navigation, it triggered a conflict between Israel and the armies of Jordan, Syria and Egypt. Within six days the Israelis had occupied territories three times wider than their own, populated by over a million Palestinian Arabs. Israel suddenly became something of a colonial empire, more Goliath than David. The war granted political legitimacy to Menachem Begin's right-wing Herut party, and Arab terrorism paved the way for Israel's secret service to become a major factor in the country's power structure. 1967 will not be a military history, nor will it focus mainly on political developments. The year 1967 dramatically altered the lives of millions of individuals and this book will focus on the personal stories from both sides of the conflict. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Tom Segev is a columnist for Ha'aretz, Israel's leading newspaper, and the author of three now-classic works on the history of Israel: 1949: The First Israelis; The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust; and One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, which was a New York Times Editors' Choice for 2000. He lives in Jerusalem.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Introduction
 
Heroes
 
1.   Yehiam
 
On June 5, 1966, in the evening hours, Yosef Weitz lit two candles in memory of his son, Yehiam, on the twentieth anniversary of his death. Weitz, who was seventy-six at the time, was the head forester for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), one of the Zionist movement's institutions, concerned with the acquisition of public land. He had lived in the land of Israel for close to sixty years, during which time the JNF had planted millions of trees. Weitz had come from Russia at the age of eighteen; he began his life in Palestine as an agricultural laborer and was promoted over the years until he became one of the directors of the JNF. He was also involved in planning new communities and was considered a founding father of the Israeli state. In his old age, he wrote children's stories. Sitting by the memorial candles, Weitz looked through old letters from his son; his Yehiam, he wrote in his diary, gazed down at him from a photograph on the wall, smiling sadly.
 
Yehiam received his name in the midst of a flurry of war and hope. He was born in October 1918 in one of the first Zionist agricultural settlements, Yavnel, in the Lower Galilee. The army of the British general Edmund Allenby was in the final stages of occupying Turkish-ruled Palestine; his mounted soldiers reached the Yavnel area on the night of Yehiam's birth. Eight days later, on the day of Yehiam's circumcision and naming, Yosef Weitz first heard about the statement issued by the British foreign secretary, Lord Arthur James Balfour, proclaiming support for the Zionist movement's aspirations to build a "national home" in Palestine, a Jewish state. The Balfour Declaration had been issued some ten months earlier, but the Lower Galilee was still under Turkish rule at the time and had no contact with the British-occupied areas.
 
Weitz and his neighbors were ecstatic when they learned of the declaration; as they gathered for the bris, a "vision of imminent salvation" beat in their hearts. "Their shining eyes and joyous exclamations voiced a blessing--that the Jewish people shall live in their land," wrote Weitz. When the mohel asked for the name of the newborn, one of the guests shouted out, "Yehiam! Yehiam!"--a Hebrew construct meaning "Long live the nation." And that was how the boy got his name. It was "a token of the covenant the English had made with the Hebrew nation, that it would be resurrected in its own land," in Weitz's words. He could not have conceived of a more patriotic name; it had never been given before.
 
Yehiam grew up in Jerusalem. His father was one of the founders of a comfortable, remote neighborhood in the western part of town, Beit Hakerem: stone houses with red tiled roofs were surrounded by the greenery of pine trees and cypresses. Daffodils and cyclamens blossomed in the gardens, and Yosef Weitz had a cherry tree. The residents of the neighborhood raised their children as loyal Zionists and pioneering leaders, in the spirit of European culture, in preparation for life in the long-awaited "national home."
 
Yehiam studied at the Hebrew Gymnasium, as did most of the children of Jerusalem's founding elite. He was a good student, who once complained that his teachers were not adequately preparing their students to serve the homeland. He grew into a handsome, charismatic young man, and he joined Hashomer Hatzair, the socialist youth movement, to train himself for a working life on a kibbutz, as was customary among many young people. When the Arab revolt against the British and the Zionists erupted in 1936, Yehiam "joined the ranks," as his father wrote--meaning the Hagana, the largest military organization of the Jewish community in Palestine. "He seems to be gaining serenity," his father wrote; "has he found himself?" It seemed he had not: Yehiam soon left to study chemistry and botany at the University of London. "I'm falling in love with London," he wrote to his parents. But when the Second World War broke out he came home and soon enlisted again, this time in the Palmah, the Hagana's quasi-standing army.
 
After the war, Yehiam was trained to carry out anti-British operations. British immigration policy, intended to gain favor with the Arabs, prevented victims of Nazi persecution from settling in Palestine. On the night of June 16, 1946, Palmah units, striking a blow at British control, attacked eleven bridges, destroying ten of them, during the Night of the Bridges. Yehiam was killed near Ahziv, in the north. His father read about the operation in the newspaper the next day and a few hours later was called to the hospital in Haifa. He asked to see his son's body. "I pulled back the edge of the sheet and saw his curls and his forehead. His thick hair was wild and alive and his brow was smooth and thoughtful. Here was Yehiam, forever silenced."1
 
He was buried just as he had lived, as the son of his father, a prominent figure in a very small society: almost everyone knew everyone and many were related. "Jewish Jerusalem in their thousands yesterday accompanied Yehiam, the son of Yosef Weitz, to his final resting place," reported the daily newspaper Davar. The national flag was draped over the body. Thirteen men had been killed with Yehiam that night, but their bodies had been shattered, thus his funeral stood for theirs, too. The public was called to take part: in Haifa, where the funeral procession began, all work came to a halt, transportation stood still, schools were closed. In Jerusalem the procession could hardly make its way through the crowds. Yehiam was buried on the Mount of Olives.
 
Weitz poured his pain into his diary. "The beloved son is gone! One cannot accept it--is he truly gone? He lives on in every corner of the house; he springs next to every tree and every plant; he is reflected in every book, every line, even at this very moment. . . .  I hear his voice, hear his final shalom, uttered in a hurry as he left the house. He enters every thought and interrupts it. I find it hard to write, I lament him, and Rema, too." Rema Samsonov was Yehiam's wife. She came from a family that had lived in the small town of Hadera for many years and later gained fame as a soprano vocalist. "Two young people, tall and upright, beautiful, kind. I had such high hopes for them."
 
 
Weitz blamed himself. "Why did I not go with him? . . .  if I had been with him perhaps he would not have been harmed?" He had a "burning passion" to know exactly how Yehiam was killed, how and where he was hit, what had happened in his final moments, what he had said at the end. Friends reported his son's last words, and yes, they contained a heroic element of sacrifice for the homeland: "I am lost. . . .  Go on with the operation," or "I am finished--you continue," and also, "Take care of Rema." His father seemed hurt: "No words of farewell for his grieving parents?" But perhaps Yehiam no longer had the strength.
 
Describing how he dealt with his pain, Weitz wrote, "My soul is torn in two, the collective and the individual." He found comfort in the mass participation in his mourning, the public aspect seeming to place a screen, at least at first, between him and his true, private pain; he felt that his task was to fulfill the public role of a bereaved father. "In Haifa and in Jerusalem, the whole nation accompanied us," he wrote in his diary, "and throngs of people from every walk of life rushed to my home for condolence visits. They say he is the nation's sacrifice."
 
Yehiam's death indeed took on a national and historical dimension. One of the newspapers wrote: "We are not fostering a cult of sacrifice, but every sacrifice like Yehiam Weitz is precious to us sevenfold. Not only because of the way he lived, but because of the way his life was lost." Among those who...
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