Tag Archives: Yossi Harel

Commander of the Exodus

Even in translation, the poetry of Yoram Kaniuk’s prose comes through, in an old tale that bears repeating, especially at a time when the anti-Semitism that is never far below the West’s benign surface is adding old darkness to modern light.

It’s instructive to be reminded that the Arab-Israeli conflict didn’t begin with contemporary Palestinian grievances and terrorism, but is at least as old as the 1920s, when a tiny minority of Jewish settlers were almost powerless to stop the periodic assaults of their majority Arab neighbors.

Or that American and British resentment of (and opposition to) European Jewish aspirations began long before there was an Israel, even, as hard as it may to accept, before, during and immediately after the Holocaust.

Kaniuk’s perspective is that of a patriotic Israeli providing the background to the state’s creation story, but he leavens his judgments through the worldly understanding of his main character, the sabra revolutionary Yossi Harel, the commander of the SS Exodus 1947.