Feb. 26, 2019
Isaac Shoshan was born in Aleppo in the early 1920s. The son of a janitor, he grew up poor, living in a small space with several other families, eating mostly flatbreads cooked with the help of cow dung. His mother died when he was a child, and he did not know his birth date. He learned Torah in school and read the verses about the land of Israel. When an emissary from the Zionist movement came to the community and told the Jews of Aleppo that the places they had so long read about and the sites that they had so long sworn to one day return to were real, and only hours away, Isaac paid a smuggler to help him cross the border. He thought he was leaving the Arab world behind. He was wrong.
Matti Friedman’s enthralling new book, Spies of No Country, tells the story of a Palmach unit called the Arab Section.