The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership
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The Prime Ministers is the first and only insider account of Israeli politics from the founding of the Jewish State to the near-present day. It reveals stunning details of life-and-death decision-making, top-secret military operations and high level peace negotiations. The Prime Ministers brings readers into the orbits of world figures, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Written in a captivating literary style by a political adviser, speechwriter and diplomat, The Prime Ministers is an enthralling political memoir, and a precisely crafted prism through which to view current Middle East affairs. The Prime Ministers is the basis of a major documentary produced by Moriah Films, the Academy Award-winning film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
o’clock in the evening of 17 May 1977, I was sitting cross-legged in front of the television in the company of my wife and four kids, listening to the station’s chief anchorman, Chaim Yavin, repeating for the umpteenth time the word “Mahapach! ” – Upheaval! – and breathlessly announcing that according to the television’s sample poll Menachem Begin, leader of the opposition Likud Party, had roundly trounced Labor’s Shimon Peres in the elections that day. “I don’t believe it,” I cried out in
his voice to a mock conspiratorial whisper, and murmured, with a rascally glint in his eyes, “I’ll share a personal secret with you. Whenever I have to choose between saving the lives of our children or getting the approval of the Security Council and all those other fair-weather friends, I much prefer the former. But keep that to yourselves. Now I want to write a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who I’m told has been particularly keen on punishing us. Yehuda, take this down:
trouble is, I can’t bend my leg. But you know me by now, Sam – a Jew bends his knee to no one but to God.” Whether this was a bit of banter or a declaration of defiance was hard to tell. Lewis shook the hands of two of the other men in the room, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, each of whom grunted a gruff ‘Shalom,’ and gave him only glares. The prime minister invited him to take a seat, reached for the stack of papers by his side, and with a stony face and a
loss for words, sat there, a picture of tired, haggard dignity, looking into empty space. Finally, he asked, “Why do you pray I shall never leave this place? What’s it to you?” “To speed his coming,” replied McAdam, calm as a rock. “Who’s coming?” “Christ’s.” Mahler shook his head in the deepest exasperation. “I don’t understand a word you’re saying.” “Then let me spell it out. You are a Jew. Your place is here. This is where you belong. This is where all Jews belong. All Jews should live in
dusting off his grim reminisces. When he spoke there was a tinge of sadness in his voice: No, there had been no deliberate massacre, he said. Things had not gone the way they had planned. They were being repeatedly hit, and the casualties were heavy. He had taken over command when the officer in charge, a fellow by the name of Ben-Zion Cohen, went down early in the fighting. He then elaborated: “Our men were ordered to avoid bloodshed as much as possible. We had a loudspeaker mounted on an