By Uri Avnery, Christopher Costello

The first eye-witness account ever released of the 1948 Israeli struggle of Independence, this riveting memoir of a tender Israeli soldier grew to become an speedy bestseller on ebook in 1949, and continues to be famous because the striking ebook of that struggle, within the culture of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet at the Western Front. First becoming a member of the Givati Brigade and later volunteering for "Samson’s Foxes", the mythical commando unit, Avnery took half in just about all the foremost battles at the Jerusalem and southern fronts. Written from the trenches, and from an army clinic mattress, he bargains a very specified account of the warfare, of fast moving battles, and acts of maximum bravery, in addition to the camaraderie and off-duty exploits of younger women and men thrust into front line. this can be a gripping, delicate, and from time to time deeply poignant account of the daily brutalities of 1 of the main major wars of our times.

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Sample text

We form up again and set off. In front of me I can see a steep hill. That is our position. Joseph, the scout, stops the long column. The first two platoons go ahead, to occupy the top of the hill. We space ourselves out, six feet from man to man, and walk stooped. We can hear dogs barking in the distance. That must be Deir Muheisin. I estimate the distance as about half a kilometer. If the Arabs are clever, they will set an ambush for us here. Maybe someone is lying in wait behind that white rock and aiming his Sten10 at me.

We held Deir Muheisin until the aim of the operation was attained. Operation Nachshon achieved its goal. But the army did not have enough men to hold the positions on the road to Jerusalem. Near Latrun and Bab al-Wad,14 the road was undefended. That was effectively an invitation to the enemy. We sat in Arab Hulda, a gigantic natural fortress overlooking the road to Latrun, fought the fleas, poured whole containers of DDT over ourselves, and made occasional visits to the “Boaz” position between Hulda and Wadi Sarar.

Every bush could be hiding an enemy, or we could walk into an ambush of our own people, who could mow us down. We don’t really care. We are so tired and tense that we don’t mind if we live or die. Even death doesn’t seem so terrible to us any more. I still don’t know who it was that died. While I am carrying the front part of the stretcher, the tarp slips from his head. I know that face. Hey, that’s Yitzhak Heller, the section leader I met this morning. The tarp slips a bit further, and I see his almost white trousers – and now it all comes back to me.

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