Surrounded on all borders but its western coastline by hostile and aggressive neighbors, the state of Israel resembles the walled city of the Middle Ages. But its walls are not stone and mortar, they are flesh and blood-they are the soldiers, both men and women-the airmen, the intelligence, the tankscorpsmen and the paratroops. These young people-from the old ghettos of Europe, from the cities of North Africa and Asia, native-born Sabras-are the protecting wall that keeps Israel free.
The Walls of Israel is Jean Larteguy's fascinating 1968 study of the Israeli armed forces. Talking with them, living with them, joining in their operations (he was taken along on a nighttime ambush set up to catch Syrian infiltrators), Larteguy got to know the Israeli soldier as few could. From this book, wide ranging and filled with lively anecdotes, emerges a picture of an army, tough and determined, yet intelligent and realistic enough to foresee a long and dangerous road ahead before a peace is won.
Jean Larteguy was a distinguished French journalist who covered conflicts in Azerbaijan, Korea, Palestine, Indochina, Algeria, and Vietnam. Among his titles published in the United States are The Praetorians and Hounds of Hell. In 1965 he received the Albert Londres Prize for journalism.