No Mission is Impossible – Israeli SF

Review by Martin Koenigsberg

Just finished my 16th Book Review of the Year!!

When I found this book at a thrift store over a year ago, I picked it up to fill in some blind spots in my reading on the IDF and their special forces units. Halfway through on October 7 , I had to put the book down for a while as the biggest security failure ever in Israel’s history made the book’s triumphalist style a bit hard to take. Michael Bar- Zohar and Nissim Mishal are political media celebrities in Israel and were around many of these events in professional capacities, so this book reads often more like journalism than history. The obvious stories like Entebbe and Osirak are in here, but I found the raids from the War of Attrition and the Lebanese Civil War to be the more interesting and compelling stories. General readers will find the military procedural style a bit repetitive- but military history fans will adjust pretty fast and get maximum value. Until the deadly bout of murder, rape and hostage-taking that Hamas were able to inflict on 10/7/23- Israel’s Intelligence Services, Police force, and IDF Special Operators had been remarkably capable of averting large scale and even smaller attacks. When possible, the IDF tried to take the initiative- preferring spoiling attacks on their opponents’ home bases to ambushing raiders inside Israel. The authors trace this back through IDF history- starting with their creation in 1947. The weapons and the opponents change, but one can see the doctrine developing and evolving. For operations to work, Intel, planning, and execution must all be in sync at high level. When any one factor drops the ball- the stories are not as triumphal… There are a few adult themes and some graphic injury descriptions , so this is a book for the Junior Reader over 12/13 years. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast, this is a really interesting book. For the Gamer there are many scenarios that can be gamed out in this book- although some other resources might be useful for confirming orders of battle. The modeler will find diorama and build ideas- but will also probably want more colour sources as well. The Military Enthusiast will find this book engaging- but will also probably go looking for more neutral sources -as this book is very organised for the Pro-Israel reader. A good read- but left me in the mood to read more diverse views on these topics…

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