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The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership Paperback – Dec 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 731 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Press (Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592643086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592643080
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,164,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"... a gripping, intimate, intricately detailed and fast-paced account of Israeli politics at the highest levels...a front-row seat to the drama of Israeli statecraft in moments of crisis and triumph, tragedy and joy. I couldn't put it down." -- Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal

"...one of the most remarkable accounts we are ever likely to get of how Israel has been governed over the decades...All of it is here...the intellectual arguments made and those that were not marshaled; the decisions taken and those that were ducked...the ultimate insider's account." -- David Horovitz, The Jerusalem Post

"It is extremely rare that a skilled diplomat is placed at the pinnacle of power across several Israeli governments and can truly deliver an insider's perspective with such skill and clarity...
a must-read for anyone seeking to understand Israel." -- Dore Gold, Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN

"...the rare kind of history which comes alive for any reader, and will stay with them long after they finish the book."
-- Samuel Lewis, Former US Ambassador to Israel --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Yehuda Avner served as adviser and English speechwriter to Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin, Begin, Meir and Eshkol. He is a former Israeli Ambassador to Britain, Ireland and Australia, and served in diplomatic positions at the Israeli Consulate in New York and the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. Ambassador Avner was born in Manchester, England. He has lived in Israel since 1947. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bibliomaniac on 18 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Born and raised in Manchester, England, Avner emigrated in 1947 to what was then Palestine and shortly became Israel. Because of his natural command of English, Avner served as a nuance-speechwriter for four of the first five Prime Ministers of Israel during the dramatic formative years of the country. During this period he was not only in close and intimate communication with his employers but also with the decision makers with whom they had to deal, sometimes pleasurably, often in conflict but always carefully. Avner paints an intriguing picture of the thought processes and influences that determined the flavour of those meetings.

This is a lengthy book, some 700 pages, and yet you finish it wanting more. Very few punches are pulled as Avner presents the four Prime Ministers he served as human beings with human frailties and needs and not merely the caricatures presented by the Press over the years covered by his book. Indeed, of the four - Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir,Yitzak Rabin and Menachem Begin - it is Begin for whom he has a special regard, respect and fondness. He provides a rare insight of a man driven by a feeling of a religious destiny and one who is usually reviled by the world's press.

It is an immensely readable book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher on 18 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who is interested in the politics and history of Israel will not be able to put this book down. The first half of this book, which deals with the period from the foundation of the State of Israel up to 1977, is gripping enough. But the second half, in which Avner paints his portrait of Menachem Begin, is utterly spellbinding. Begin is revealed as a man of immense integrity and intellect, a politician of rare pedigree who articulated the Zionist idea more passionately and more persuasively than anyone before or since. If it was one of Avner's goals to play a part in elevating Begin from controversial Israeli Prime Minister to one of the great heroes of Jewish history, then I believe he has succeeded.
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Format: Paperback
A blend of selective autobiography and selective history. Avner personally knew four Prime Ministers (Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin) through having worked for them. While he writes warmly and gives excellent portraits of the first three of these, there is no doubt that the last was his particular hero. Not only does Begin tower over the other three on the cover of the book, but 350 pages are given to the 6½ years of his premiership, while the other three, whose combined premiership ran for twice as many years, have 250 pages altogether.

The book opens with a glamorous and justificatory account of Begin's dangerous underground career as leader of the Irgun. Avner (born Haffner in Manchester) was a religious Zionist and already a supporter as a schoolboy. In November 1947, aged 19, he went to Palestine. He took part in the war of 1948, then worked to clear the land for a kibbutz. His account of these years is mainly autobiographical, but Begin again figures extensively (far more than does Prime Minister Ben Gurion), though Avner did not at that time know Begin personally. In 1959 he joined the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and in 1963, at the age of 34, he was appointed speech-writer for Premier Levi Eshkol.

So now, just over 100 pages into the 700 page book, he starts on his intimate involvement with the Prime Ministers of its title. He sees them dealing with the great events of the time, from the Six Day War in 1967 to Begin's resignation in October 1983, just three months after Avner left his personal staff to become ambassador in London.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By elrosen on 16 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book is a masterpiece on so many levels - biography; history; insight into the art of diplomacy; autobiography and more. It is more a historically interesting document in its own right than it is a history book - but that should ensure its lasting value to students and casual readers in the future. It will not date in the way so many history books do, because it is more a unique record of events than an attempt to analyse. You sneak the analysis into the interstices in a way that the reader hardly notices.

Thank you.

Trevor Asserson
Asserson Law Offices
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is superbly written by someone who was an eye-witness to discussions between prime ministers of Israel and major world leaders. His insights into the political views of Menachem Begin, surely one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century, are fascinating. Begin was a true lover of Israel and he was never afraid to stand up for his beliefs in the people of Israel and the Land of Israel as given to the people of Israel by G-d. His knowledge of the Bible was an essential tool and something by which he lived. How well Mr Avner brings out this important aspect of this key player in today's political atmosphere when the world is so lacking in leadership. Highly recommended and excellent value for money.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all this is not a biograpgy of Israel's Prime Ministers. If you are looking for this you will need to look else where. Rather this is an autobiograhy of Yehuda Avner and his time working with 4 different Prime Minister. It is a great read with a really good insiders view in what was going on behind the scenes in the life of Modern Israel. A great book for anyone interested in government and its workings and especially the Israelie government.
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