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 4 of 5)

“Don’t say a word,” Kawaji replied. “Leave it to me.”

No one asked Udi any questions.

Beirut, with its tall buildings and stylish boardwalk, astonished Udi. An Arab city, and it’s nicer than Tel Aviv — He caught himself: even he had internalized Israeli contempt for the Arabs.

Kawaji took Udi to a relative’s home, where he’d parked his car. Before getting in, he checked under the chassis. “We have many enemies,” he explained.

They crossed the border into Syria. Streams, grapevines, lush valleys. But Damascus disappointed: faded shops, uniform dress of gray suits and housecoats, life-size posters of Hafez al-Assad.

Nationalists, thought Udi with distaste.

They drove to a house on the edge of the city. Aside from a refrigerator and cots, the villa was empty.

Kawaji took Udi to see the sights, the ancient covered market and the grave of Saladin, who defeated the Crusaders.

They visited the Jewish quarter. Only a few thousand terrorized Jews remained of a once-thriving ancient community. Forbidden to emigrate, they were under constant surveillance, subjected to periodic arrests.

In the quarter’s police station, Kawaji introduced Udi to the commander as an American journalist. Udi nodded and smiled, trying to say as little as possible in his Israeli-accented English.

The commander explained to Udi that the job of the police was to protect the Jews from provocateurs. We aren’t against the Jews, he said, only the Zionists.

“He’s one of us,” Kawaji said to Udi.

At the synagogue, they met the community’s young rabbi. Udi approvingly noted his trimmed beard. A modern man, not like Shlomo Goren and the other fanatical rabbis in Israel with their wild beards — Speaking in the presence of policemen, the rabbi assured the American journalist of the Syrian government’s benevolence. The government, he said, protects us.


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!
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • 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.
  • 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.