Professor's just-published book focuses on secret operation to save Israel

December 17, 2019

A Penn State faculty member’s nonfiction book about a secret, illegal 1947-49 operation to rescue newborn Israel has been published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Award-winning filmmaker Boaz Dvir, assistant professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, spent more than a decade researching the story of World War II aviators who aimed to prevent what they viewed as an imminent second Holocaust.

“Boaz Dvir's beautifully written book, ‘Saving Israel,’ offers a loving and unvarnished account of the men and women who risked everything to make sure Israel not only survived, but thrived,” said former “60 Minutes” producer Barbara Dury.

The 320-page book, “Saving Israel: The Unknown Story of Smuggling Weapons and Winning a Nation’s Independence,” follows Dvir’s two documentaries about the operation:

  • A Wing and a Prayer” Narrated by actor William Baldwin, the hour-long film aired on PBS in 2015-17, won Best Documentary at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, screened at sites such as the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, and is now available through steaming sites such as Amazon Prime. 
  • Israel Survived an Early Challenge” The eight-minute film, which Dvir co-produced with Retro Report, is available on Apple News.

In the book, Dvir employed a documentary method: re-enactment.

“I felt compelled to recreate some of the key interactions among the operation members in order to properly portray their multilayered stories and larger-than-life personalities,” said Dvir, who teaches journalism at Penn State.

“Saving Israel” is available in hardcover and digital formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target, among other websites and stores.

“‘Saving Israel’ reveals the little-known story of the creation of the air force that defended the state of Israel in its earliest days in 1948,” said Virginia Tech Associate Professor Richard Shryock. “Enriched by numerous firsthand accounts of the participants, Boaz Dvir presents a compelling and highly readable story of people willing to risk all in defense of an ideal.”

  • Saving Israel book, Boaz Dvir
    IMAGE: Image Provided

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 17, 2019