“My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace” by Ehud Barak— A Memoir

Barak, Ehud. “My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace”, St. Martin’s, 2018.

A Memoir

Amos Lassen

“My Country, My Life” is the definitive memoir of one of Israel’s most influential soldier-statesmen and one-time Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, with insights into forging peace in the Middle East.

In the summer of 2000, Ehud Barak set himself a challenge: to secure a final peace with the Palestinians. He would propose two states for two peoples, with a shared capital in Jerusalem. He knew the risks of failure. But he also knew the risks of not trying and this was perhaps the last chance for a generation to secure genuine peace and it was a moment of truth.

Born on a kibbutz, Barak became commander of Israel’s elite Special Forces, then army Chief of Staff, and ultimately, Prime Minister. His story is the story of Israel’s first seventy years and he shares its major successes and its setbacks and misjudgments. He offers candid assessments of his fellow Israeli politicians, of the American administrations with which he worked, and of himself. He also presents a powerful warning: “Israel is at a crossroads, threatened by events beyond its borders and by divisions within. The two-state solution is more urgent than ever, not just for the Palestinians, but also for the existential interests of Israel itself. Only by rediscovering the twin pillars on which it was built (military strength and moral purpose) can Israel thrive.”

This is a detailed picture of a man who has lived a full life. For the past twenty years, Barak has played a significant role in the Israeli government, and he has valuable insights into that country’s domestic policies. He gives us a wonderful resource for understanding Israel’s recent history.

We feel Barak’s love of Israel on every page and because of this his warnings about the country’s future as a Jewish and democratic state are powerful, urgent, and real. He is a warrior/statesman whose honesty shows how much he cares.

Barak describes his missions for Israel’s toughest commando unit with the passion of a born soldier and the most poignant parts of this book describe Barak’s unsuccessful struggle as prime minister to forge a peace deal with the PLO’s Yasser Arafat. He must have believed that the Palestinians share similar principles as his for making peace with their neighbors.

This is a must read for “anyone who has interest in the Middle East, the Palestinians, and the rise of Israel from a dream to a high-tech and military tower of power.”

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