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.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 5)

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.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.