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Hardcover Self-Portrait of a Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963-1976) Book

ISBN: 0394513762

ISBN13: 9780394513768

Self-Portrait of a Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963-1976)

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

On 4th July, 1976, an Air France flight was hijacked, and 103 passengers, many of them Israeli citizens, were taken hostage in Entebbe, Uganda. The story of their rescue has become legend, and... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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O, Jonathan, Thou Wast Slain On Thine High Places

I start backwards with Shimon Peres' eulogy of Yonathan Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyahu's eldest brother, found on the last page of the book. The title for the review originates from the Hebrew bible from the most famous story of two young jewish men 5000 years ago who fought for their homeland and made Jerusalem their home. The two men were Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and beloved, best friend of Israel's most famous second king, King David. "Zahal, NEEDS good officers NOW", Yoni wrote in a letter to his parents in 1969. (ZAHAL is an anacronym for Zewa Hagana le Jisrael, Defense Army for Israel). He was an intellectual and a warrior who broke years of service from time to time to study at Harvard, yet was drawn time and time again back to the IDF, to fight, to defend, and in his last action to fall in an unprecedented anti-terrorist raid to free 103 persons held hostage in Uganda where the dictator Idi Amin played host to the terrorists. Yes, awe is right. He was only thirty years old when he died in 1976 on July 4. But in those precious few dozen years of his life, he lived it to the full, many, many days going on with only a few hours of sleep each night, especially when on active duty in the Sayeret Matkal, Israel's elite forces branch of the IDF. What was amazing to me was that he never complained, ever, even when he probably could have found good reasons to. What a beautiful life and attitude I thought while reading his personal letters to his loved ones. What's obvious too is how close knit his entire family was, also a rarity these days, and he always encouraged his brothers in whatever they were doing. He was not suicidal or had a martyr's mentality, he loved adventure and life. If he ever got upset, it was that his family had not written! It's a miracle his letters survived at all. Many of them were written when he was in the field, with the wind blowing and no place on which to write except his knee; reading Yoni's letters revealed to me what life is like for an Israeli soldier, NEVER a dull moment, and I'm beginning to be convinced as Yoni believed with all his heart, that their army was the best in the world. OOPS, and I'm an American! I also love the books Aaron has chosen to review, so instructive on matters Israeli. Thank you.

The title says it all, self-portrait of a true hero

There are many ways to gain insight into the mind of a great man. Biographies, interviews, and so on are all excellent approaches. However, as this book shows, the letters sent by a man to his family over the course of his adolescence and adult years show him better than any thousand page biography. Regardless of the fact that this is a translation from the original Hebrew, it is captivating and quite readable. I personally was not able to read this continuously, being overwhelmed by a sense of respect bordering on awe, as his character emerged as a human individual. While he is best known as a brilliant and daring leader of men, he was also a truly great man totally apart from anything military. He epitomized the ideal Israeli commander, a man of peace who returned to the military out of a sense of committment, and a sense of responsibility. After reading this book, one cannot be suprised at any of the heaping accolades bestowed posthumously upon him. Indeed, one is left wondering what else might he have accomplished, had he only lived.
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