A Purity of Arms

Aaron T. Wolf, Author Doubleday Books $19.95 (227p) ISBN 978-0-385-26036-7
Raised in San Francisco, Wolf served for two years in the Israeli army after becoming a citizen of that country in 1985. The training was demanding and included a 55-mile forced march during which he was told, ``If something is really wrong you'll pass out, otherwise keep going.'' He was taught to avoid becoming a sociomat, a soldier who only takes care of himself, and inculcated with tohar haneshek (purity of arms), a concept of responsibility and restraint in the use of weapons. This first-person narrative tells of nerve-wracking patrols and ambushes on the West Bank and in Southern Lebanon. Wolf describes his unit's involvement in early stages of the ``sticks and stones war,'' called intifada , between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinians, and he expresses his revulsion at having to deal militarily with suspected terrorists who were often under the age of 10. The memoir is an unpretentious, informative account of a young enlisted man's experiences in what many consider the world's finest small army. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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