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The People, Food for Kings

In this monumental novel, Yitzhak Laor made a significant departure from the heroic depiction of the Israeli army. A dusty, neglected supply base in the Negev desert, several months before the 1967 Six Day War, reveals the army as a refuge for the wretched, humiliated dregs of Israeli society, brought even lower by military life. However, the soldiers of this base manage to disrupt and cancel the war, creating an “alternative history,” a State of Israel without the West Bank.

In the autumn of 1966, the commander of the army camp dies and the phlegmatic-absurd camp routine is shattered. “The new era began slowly,” explains the narrator as he launches into a vivid portrayal of the humiliations that begin when the new commander, Major Uri takes over. A born recluse, Major Uri imposes his power by targeting individual soldiers as his victims and issuing capricious commands that are later withdrawn. But the war never breaks out because a secret document with war plans reaches the supply base and the soldiers run away, altering the course of events. And yet, despite the novel’s black humor and cruelty, Laor creates beauty and poignancy, underscoring man’s greatness and humanity.

Title The People, Food for Kings
Writer's Last Name Laor
Writer's First Name Yitzhak
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Yedioth Ahronoth
No. Pages 534pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Am, Maʹachal Melachim