A book self-described as "The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF's targeted killing programs" has been at the top of international bestseller lists for the past two weeks.
"Rise and Kill First: The Inside Story and Secret Operations of Israel's Assassinations," published on January 30 and penned by Yedioth Ahronoth award winning journalist Dr. Ronen Bergman, has also been received with wide critical acclaim, with top critics calling it "an exceptional work" and "a must-read."
The book ranked sixth in the combined (Hard cover+ ebook) nonfiction category of the American newspaper New York Times Bestsellers list, and fourth on German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel parallel list.
On Amazon, the book ranked eighth among the best selling books on the site.
The book, a fruit of eight years of work, describes the history of the Israeli intelligence community—Mossad, Shin Bet, MID and IDF's special operations units.
It begins in 1907 in the home of former President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi in Jaffa, where the first Zionist armed organization, the Bar-Giora, was established, and ends in September 2017.
Bergman describes these 110 years through the statements of some 1,000 interviewees, many of whom speak on their behalf, and thousands of documents that have not been disclosed.
The New York Times called Bergman's work "never loses sight of the ethical questions that arise when a state, founded as a refuge for a stateless people who were targets of a genocide, decides it needs to kill in order to survive," adding it is "full of shocking moments, surprising disturbances in a narrative full of fateful twists and unintended consequences."
Newsweek, meanwhile, called Bergman "Israel’s premier chronicler of the country’s principal spy services."