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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What a cultured man, thought Udi, what a model Jewish community.

Here was an alternative to the Judaism of power and conquest, proof that the Jews didn’t need a state to be safe.

In the villa on the edge of Damascus, Kawaji presented Udi with an empty notebook and instructed: Write about your life, especially your military service. “What’s interesting about my military service?” asked Udi. “I was a corporal, I don’t know any secrets.”

Kawaji insisted. Udi relented. What could he reveal that wasn’t available in any Israeli newspaper?

He wrote about basic training in the Nahal base near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, about parachute drops in Tel Nof, about the antiquated Belgian FN rifle on which he’d learned to shoot.

Write the location of air force bases, Kawaji instructed.

Udi complied. Who doesn’t know that Tel Nof is near Givat Brenner?

Kawaji requested an assessment of Motta Gur. A warmonger, wrote Udi.

As Udi filled the notebook, he might have thought about Uri Ilan, the other member of Gan Shmuel to reach Damascus, who committed suicide rather than betray military secrets under torture. Yet as Udi wrote in the notebook, he didn’t think of Uri Ilan. Not as reproach, not even as irony.

He simply forgot about him.

Udi was driven to an army camp in the mountains. He was given a Kalashnikov and taken to a firing range. What was this childish game? Wondered Udi. As if he didn’t know how to shoot. Still, there was something charming about training in the hills. Just like Che Guevara.

The only time he balked was when Kawaji asked him to photograph Israeli military installations. To attack installations was a legitimate act; to photograph them was an act of espionage. “I’m a revolutionary,” said Udi, “not a spy.”

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