Why did I decide to write this book?
I guess there are many answers but the first that comes to mind is passion.
My main passion is my country, land, people and history/destiny.
How did that happen?
Like many people, the Six Day War changed my life.
Over one hundred years ago my grandparents fled Czarist Russia. I have a faded photo of my grandfather's great grandfather on my wall so I knew where I came from, at least for some generations back. He could have been a classic stand - in for "Fiddler on the roof". The question that came up later in my life was where should I be going?
I was born in Brooklyn NY in a modest, orthodox community. I attended yeshiva and graduated college with an MA degree from Brooklyn College (International Relations).
Until 1967, I thought that the ultimate Jewish life was the one I led, in the place where I lived.
In the weeks leading up to the Six Days War in June 1967, my rather insular Jewish community looked outward with great concern, to a place far away called Israel.
During the twelve years before the war in my neighborhood, synagogue, yeshiva and summer camps, Israel did not play a role. We did just fine without it. We did not consider America/Brooklyn as an Exile.
It was as close to redemption as one can get. Tisha B'av was a ritual that we faithfully endured.
I guess I knew Israel was out there but it was not relevant to the perfect Jewish life I was being raised in.
All of a sudden in May 1967, we were all praying in synagogue and in yeshiva for Israel.
May God save it and its two and a half million Jews from another Holocaust, this time at the hands of its Arab neighbors and their Soviet backers.
It seemed hopeless. All the adults around me were worried. We even kept the radio open all Sabbath, in the laundry room.
Then came the miraculous victory against an array of Arab armies in only six days. The community euphoria was something I have never experienced, and life for me was never to be the same.
My first visit to Israel was when I graduated high school in 1971. Tiny, simple, unsophisticated Israel still basked in the afterglow of the six days miracle. What it lacked in material comforts it made up for in spirit and energy. I was captivated. For the first time in my life, I as a Jew was in the majority - in a Jewish country. I met my Israeli side of the family for the first time. I met Jewish youth that did not live in Brooklyn. I visited the newly liberated lands and sites where the bible was more than words on page. A wonderful new world.
A Jewish Disneyland.
In 1973 I returned to Israel to study for a year in the Hebrew university.
At two o’clock in the afternoon on October 6, as I was taking my afternoon Yom Kippur rest, sirens were heard. The Yom Kippur war was upon us. Israel was close to being overrun.
It did not turn out to be the kind of year I or anyone had expected and it determined the rest of my life. That year I decided to move to Israel as soon as I completed my studies in the USA.
The USA does not need me. Israel does.
And so it was.
I moved to Israel in November 1977, just months after Menachem Begin defeated the entrenched Labor party for the first time. It was an exciting time for a nationalist like me.
On my wall in Brooklyn was a picture of Begin, the fiery Jew
Egypt's Anwar Sadat made his historic visit to Jerusalem just as I arrived. In return for his promise of peace, my hero quietly submitted to his every demand, including the unprecedented expulsion of Jews from their homes.
The mantra, “Land for peace" was born
Repeated “expulsion of Jews for peace” became a norm.
I had just made Aliyah and I was confronted by complexities and disappointments that I was not prepared for.
Since my Aliyah in 1977 until today, I kept a diary for most of these years and assiduously recorded my observations and feelings .
Some of my articles have been published. I kept them all. They reflect Israel society, culture and of course politics at the time they were written.
My career as a tour guide since 1980 has offered me a continuing and close relationship not just with places in Israel but with its people.
My writing reflects love, pride, frustration and hope.
I made Aliyah to Israel as a young single man.
Today, I have children and grandchildren thank God, who are continuing the journey that I began.
Perhaps one day my picture will be on their walls as the first ancestor to have brought the family home where it all began.