Commander of the Exodus

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Grove Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
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Hailed by The New York Times as "one of the most inventive, brilliant novelists in the Western world," internationally renowned Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk turns his hand to nonfiction to bring us his most important work yet. Commander of the Exodus animates the story of Yossi Harel, a modern-day Moses who defied the blockade of the British Mandate to deliver more than 24,000 displaced Holocaust survivors to Palestine while the rest of the world closed its doors. Of the four expeditions commanded by Harel between 1946 and 1948, the voyage of the Exodus left the deepest impression on public consciousness, quickly becoming a beacon for Zionism and a symbol to all that neither guns, cannons, nor warships could stand in the way of the human need for a home. With grace and sensitivity, Kaniuk shows the human face of history. He pays homage to the young Israeli who was motivated not by politics or personal glory, but by the pleading eyes of the orphaned children languishing on the shores of Europe. Commander of the Exodus is both an unforgettable tribute to the heroism of the dispossessed and a rich evocation of the vision and daring of a man who took it upon himself to reverse the course of history. "[Yossi Harel's] remarkable achievements have been engraved in history by the talent of Yoram Kaniuk." -- Ehud Barak, prime minister of Israel
 

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Commander of the Exodus

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While the ship Exodus has been immortalized in the Leon Uris novel and Otto Preminger film (both of the same name), little was known about the ship's captain, Yossi Harel. In this capably translated ... Read full review

Contents

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IV
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V
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About the author (2001)

A native Israeli, Yoram Kaniuk was born on May 2, 1930. He served in the Haganah and later in the War of Independence. He was in the United States from 1950 to 1961, sharpened his artistic abilities, and developed a nostalgic vision of Tel Aviv and a deep attachment for Jerusalem. In May 2011, Kaniuk petitioned the Israeli Interior Ministry to change his religion status from "Jewish" to "no religion." This stemmed from his desire not to belong to a "Jewish Iran" or "what is today called the religion of Israel." In October 2011, a district court judge approved his petition, meaning that Kaniuk was then considered a Jew by nationality, but not by religion. Hundreds of other Israelis intend to do the same; a new verb, lehitkaniuk (to Kaniuk oneself) was coined to refer to this process. Kaniuk published 17 novels, a memoir, seven collections of short stories, two books of essays and five books for children and youth. His books have been published in 25 languages and he has won numerous literary prizes. He died on June 8, 2013.

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