An Israeli Paratrooper's Path to Extremism and Terror Told in 'Like Dreamers'

How Udi Adiv Veered Far Off Zionist Path

Kibbutznik Gone Rogue: Udi Adiv sits with other members of a Jewish-Palestinian extremist group as they faced trial.
israel government press office
Kibbutznik Gone Rogue: Udi Adiv sits with other members of a Jewish-Palestinian extremist group as they faced trial.

By Yossi Klein Halevi

Published October 27, 2013, issue of November 01, 2013.
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The forty members of Matzpen divided into two rival Trotskyite factions and a third pro-Mao faction called the Struggle. Udi joined the Maoists. One of the group’ members advocated a Chinese-style cultural revolution, whose first act would be the destruction of pianos.

One evening in Daoud’s bookstore, Udi provided the opening Daoud had been waiting for. “All around the world, the revolution is winning,” Udi said. “The Vietnamese are about to defeat America. Communism is spreading in Latin America. It’s just a matter of time before the Palestinians defeat Zionism. And what are we doing? Talking.”

Udi Adiv as he appeared in the early ’70s, before his arrest and trial.
Udi Adiv as he appeared in the early ’70s, before his arrest and trial.

“I have a group I think you will be interested in,” Daoud said.

“I want to meet someone from the Palestinian national movement,” Udi said.

“It can be arranged,” replied Daoud.

Daoud established separate cells for Arabs and Jews and placed Udi in charge of the Jewish cell. Daoud reassured him: We won’t target civilians, only symbols of the Zionist power structure, like government offices and army bases. And an occasional assassination of political leaders like the archcriminal defense minister, Moshe Dayan.

That made sense to Udi. True, civilians would be at risk with a bomb in a government office, but collateral damage was unavoidable in any war. As for killing soldiers, that was what war was about. Udi didn’t think of the actual soldiers that he knew, like his friends in Gan Shmuel or the men with whom he’d fought in Jerusalem.

Udi’s first recruit was Dan Vered, the Maoist who wanted to destroy pianos. Vered was a math teacher who had been radicalized by the New Left when he’d studied in Florida.

Daoud discussed scouting out the Haifa port and electric company facilities. And he assigned Udi the job of hiding stolen weapons. But no weapons appeared.

At 4:30 in the morning of September 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists wearing ski masks invaded the Olympic village in Munich, shot to death two members of the Israeli national team, and kidnapped nine others.

The terrorists — claiming to represent a previously unknown group, Black September, but in fact part of the PLO — demanded to be flown to Cairo with their hostages. When they boarded a helicopter provided by the German government, police sharpshooters opened fire. One of the terrorists detonated a grenade, killing the sportsmen.

For Israelis, the image of their athletes lying bound and helpless — in Germany — was unbearable. The Munich massacre seemed to prove that even when Jews became Olympic sportsmen, they were still somehow different from everyone else.

Yet Udi could no longer even grieve together with his fellow Israelis. The Palestinian resistance, he argued, had the right to take hostages.

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