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Ideas & Opinions

Yossi Klein Halevi and Roger Hertog on Like Dreamers and Israel’s Future

December 13, 2013

Like Dreamers, Yossi Klein Halevi’s masterful history cum biography cum ethnography, has received praise from all quarters. It is a riveting book that presents in vivid colors the development and ideology of two of Israel’s most important movements of the twentieth century: The secular kibbutzim and the religious settlers of Judea and Samaria. It does so through portraits of seven paratroopers who were part of the force that won the battle for Jerusalem in June 1967 – portraits of their life and leadership in the Israel that this war created. 

Yossi visited the Tikvah Center recently and sat down with Roger Hertog, Tikvah’s chairman and a supporter of this project for many years. The conversation captured here is worthy of their subject – ranging from behind the scenes discussion of the book’s creation to debate about the implications for the choices Israel faces today.

Here is one small taste: Yossi describing his discovery of the very intimate friendship between settler leader Yoel Bin-Nun and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

It’s something that I just stumbled onto.  I was not looking for scoops in this book.  This is probably the only scoop that the book has.  At one point Yoel said to me, “Would you be interested to see the faxes that I used to send to Rabin?”  Another one of those moments.  You had a relationship with Rabin?  But here, actually nobody knew about this.  This was a very private relationship that developed during the Oslo years. 

Rabin was a much more interesting figure than his public persona let on – especially during Oslo.  He was looking for someone in the settlement camp with which he could test his ideas and get feedback.  Tell me what’s wrong with this.  And Yoel steps in to the breech and amply provides the counter arguments.

Listen to the full audio here:

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