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Shield of David: The Story of Israel’s Armed Forces by Yigal Allon (87,000 words and 264 illustrations)

Shield of David tells the history of the Jews’ armed forces from the Palestine Yishuv’s first efforts at self-defense in the early 1900s, under the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Suez Campaign and until the 1967 Six-Day War.

“In recent years, most particularly since the Six-Day War of June 1967, people throughout the world have asked themselves how it happened that the Israel Defence Forces won so resounding a victory over the Arab armies. What suddenly endowed the Jewish people — traditionally non-martial — with such impressive military skills? What is the secret of the prowess of Israeli soldiers, airmen and sailors?

The answer, of course, is that nothing happens ‘suddenly’; that the modern story of Jewish self-defence in the Land of Israel dates back some eighty years, and is the result of the commitment and dedication to national survival of many men and women — most of whom, seeking no publicity, received none. This book is my attempt to tell part of that little-known story — as simply, briefly and clearly as possible.” — Yigal Allon, Author’s Note, 1970