The first of the Thoenes’ three-book Zion Legacy series starts with the declaration of sovereignty by David Ben-Gurion on Friday, May 14, 1948 and continues through Sunday, May 23. Through the eyes of various combatants on both sides, the reader is thrown up-close-and-personal into the various skirmishes and personal battles being waged throughout Jerusalem.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of this story is that a battle of such monumental impact was fought on such a small scale, with no large-scale military maneuvers, high-tech weaponry, or discernable battle plan on either side. The battle for Jerusalem was fought almost entirely by ragtag bands of poorly equipped mercenaries. While personal agendas and in-fighting amongst the leaders of the Arab forces prevented their combined superiority from annihilating the outnumber Jewish fighters, the Jewish forces were able to overcome factional prejudices and work together effectively.
While the authors briefly mention the massacre of Arab civilians in the village of Deir Yassin by “Jewish terrorists,” the overall theme of the story is decidedly pro-Jewish, describing in brutal detail the slaughter of Jewish settlers by the Arab forces. It is against this backdrop of brutality that the fascinating history of Judaism in Israel is laid out: hope intertwined with the desperation of the battles raging everywhere.