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The Prime Ministers [Kindle Edition]

Yehuda Avner
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 presents first-hand accounts of major historical events, including: Menachem Begin’s decision to bomb Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor; Yitzhak Rabin’s handling of the Entebbe rescue mission; the Egypt-Israel peace process; the shelling of the Irgun arms ship, the Altalena, and Deir Yessin. It offers keen observations of key personalities, and unforgettable descriptions of political rivalries, diplomatic blunders, White House and Buckingham Palace banquets and more, to bring Israel’s history to life in a way no book has done before.
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. More at

Product Description


"... 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

" 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

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10776 KB
  • Print Length: 743 pages
  • Publisher: The Toby Press, LLC (24 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003X9781Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,777 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scribe's View 18 Dec. 2011
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book 18 Oct. 2010
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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By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece on So Many Levels 16 Sept. 2010
By elrosen
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Inside information 29 April 2013
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner! 2 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great inside view into the personalities of Israel's Prime Ministers and the hard choices they had to make throughout Israel's short history so far.
Avner details some fascinating anecdotes from Meir to Begin, focussing on the Egypt-Israel Peace signing with a wonderfully clear writing style. A real page-turner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book! Very interesting for anyone interested in what goes on behind the scenes in Israeli politics.
Published 9 days ago by joshua fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must read for all who love Israel
Published 1 month ago by WILLIAM CLARK
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very well written
Published 2 months ago by susan licht
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliantly written and highly informative
Published 4 months ago by Judah Harstein
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book. Gave an insight of what goes on ...
A very good book. Gave an insight of what goes on behind the scenes. I would recommend this book to anyone who has or take an interest in this part of the world.
Published 5 months ago by Eddie Saunders
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prime Ministers
This is a big book with so much history - takes some time to read it if one doesn't have too much time for reading, but such a revelation of people behind such an interesting... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Anna Parkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Israeli pioneers
Recommended to me I started to read and could hardly put it down! So much is due to the author's fascinating style but of course the history alone - even though you may think that... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dr. Kenneth Lancer
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising
A very surprising and authentic look at four Israeli prime ministers and
the history of Israel during their times. I found it very hard to put down.
Published 18 months ago by Z Star
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascination insight into how many important decisions were reached
a superb account of a man who worked for successive prime ministers. He gives detail of exactly what they were like and an insight into how some of the most important decisions of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Eric Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars exallent book
what an amaizing book by yehuda shows why he was an embaseder. i feel this book is worthy of a reward.. to summ it all up abselutly brilliant
Published 21 months ago by avi
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