The Essence of Longing: General Erez Gerstein and the War in Lebanon
Book, Yediot Books (Hebrew)
Author: Ehud Eiran, Former Associate, International Security Program, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2005–2010
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
General Erez Gerstein — Israel's most senior casualty in its 22 year conflict with Hizbullah — was the stuff Israeli legends are made of. Born in a Kibbutz, he became a tall, handsome warrior-farmer and spent most of his adult life on the Lebanese frontlines. He was revered as a fearless commanding officer who rose through the ranks from a second lieutenant in a special forces unit to the rank of a general. General Gerstein led Israel's Lebanon division until he was killed by Hizbullah in 1999.
The Essence of Longing goes beyond Gerstein's biography and a detailing of the operations he led: It is also the story of Israel's counter insurgency wars in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s and the tale of the generation that fought there and leads the Israel Defense forces today.
"Erez' imprint on us, his brothers in arms and commanders, is unforgettable. Ehud Eiran's book allows those who were not with us there in the battle fields to try and make sense of the myth called Erez Gerstein."
—General Shaul Mofaz, Chief of Staff, Israel Defense Force (1998-2002), Israeli Minister of Defense (2002–2006)
"Erez was the Israeli spirit at its best. A true native of the land, who loved its soil in the storm of battle, and with a hope for peace. In these challenging times for the Israel Defense Forces and the state of Israel, his absence pains us more then ever ..."
—General Gabi Ashkenazi, Chief of Staff, Israel Defense Forces
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