Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Avraham Azrieli's The Jerusalem Transgression


Avraham Azrieli’s The Jerusalem Transgression is the second installment of the Jerusalem Gerster series, resuming the story of young IDF member, “Lemmy” Gerster, to whom readers were first introduced in The Jerusalem Inception.   Azrieli again treats a significant period in Israeli history, resuming the story just after the signing of the second Oslo Peace Accord.

Azrieli provides stunning continuity through Israeli history and within the series, interconnecting all significant events throughout Israel’s history, through the characters of Lemmy Gerster, Tanya Galinski, Elie Weiss, and Rabbi Gerster.  Many years have passed since The Jerusalem Inception and Lemmy is working as a mole in the Swiss banking system, passing as Wilhelm Horch.  Now a father himself, he struggles not only with the intrigue that is occurring around him, but also with his past, trying to accept that he is dead to his father, vowing that he could never stop loving his son; however, Weiss maintains that his family is all a part of his elaborate cover.

In the 28 years between the two stories, Tanya Galinski has come to command Mossad’s European operations, and Elie Weiss remains as bitter as ever, even while facing emphysema, commanding his team of assassins with prowess, making Tanya’s already difficult job even more complicated; Tanya is attempting to foster peace and thwart terrorism efforts and circumvent another war, while Weiss views peace as something only attainable by eliminating all enemies of the Jewish people.  Lemmy returns to Israel, where he will face the choice of blowing his cover or allowing those he loves to be harmed. 

Azrieli skillfully interweaves fact and fiction, setting his story before the backdrop of real historic events and political and military leaders, mirroring EYAL in his fictional ILOT, who proclaim themselves to be “warriors of the Torah” and swear “death to the pursuers of Jews” and “the traitors.”  His use of carefully replicated history and themes of revenge, survival, and belief in what is right and what is true make The Jerusalem Transgression for more artful and compelling than the typical spy thriller that relies on plot alone, giving it many layers of depth and meaning.