“The first biography of Yossi Harel . . . offers valuable insights into the Jewish struggle to create a homeland.” —Booklist
Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the most inventive, brilliant novelists in the Western world,” internationally renowned Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk turns his hand to nonfiction to bring us his most important work yet. Commander of the Exodus animates the story of Yossi Harel, a modern-day Moses who defied the blockade of the British Mandate to deliver more than twenty-four thousand displaced Holocaust survivors to Palestine while the rest of the world closed its doors. Of the four expeditions commanded by Harel between 1946 and 1948, the voyage of the Exodus left the deepest impression on public consciousness, quickly becoming a beacon for Zionism and a symbol to all that neither guns, cannons, nor warships could stand in the way of the human need for a home. With grace and sensitivity, Kaniuk shows the human face of history. He pays homage to the young Israeli who was motivated not by politics or personal glory, but by the pleading eyes of the orphaned children languishing on the shores of Europe. Commander of the Exodus is both an unforgettable tribute to the heroism of the dispossessed and a rich evocation of the vision and daring of a man who took it upon himself to reverse the course of history.
“[Yossi Harel’s] remarkable achievements have been engraved in history by the talent of Yoram Kaniuk.” —Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel