Saturday, March 19, 2016

the last book I ever read (Dan Ephron's Killing a King, excerpt seven)

from Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel by Dan Ephron:

Amir had no travel plans. With school out, he got a job as an armed guard at a summer camp run by the Jewish National Fund, a group that American Jews know for its fund-raising and tree-planting. Amir had a few thousand shekels in the bank—about a thousand dollars—some of which he was giving to a Haredi charity in small monthly installments. He might have made more money interning at a law office but the idea held no appeal. He’d put away his textbooks for the summer and was reading a novel his brother had recommended instead: Frederick Forsyth’s thriller The Day of the Jackal.

The book is a fictional account of a right-wing group’s effort to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle over his decision to end the war in Algeria and withdraw French forces. France’s colonization of Algeria differed markedly from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza—it had been under way for more than 130 years when Algeria finally gained independence in 1962. But to anyone steeped in French history, Rabin’s circumstances in the 1990s would have seemed remarkably similar to de Gaulle’s in the waning years of colonial rule in Algeria. Both men were war heroes who surprised their public by embracing peace programs. Both came to be seen as traitors by a segment of their countrymen—settlers and other right-wingers—for their willingness to cede territory. And both refused to take the threats against their personal safety seriously. Though the plot to kill de Gaulle as rendered in The Day of the Jackal is made up, the French leader survived several real assassination attempts.

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