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The Hope is a historical novel by Herman Wouk about pivotal events in the history of the State of Israelmarker from 1948 to 1967. These include Israel's War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai War (known in Israel as "Operation Kadesh"), and the Six-Day War. The narrative is continued in the sequel The Glory.

Plot summary

These crucial events are mainly seen through the eyes of two fictional characters, who meet near the beginning of the novel: Zev Barak and Joseph Blumenthal. We also meet several of the most important real-life heroes of Israel: David Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Mickey Marcus, Yigael Yadin, Motta Gur, and others. All these people, both the real ones and the fictional ones, are portrayed as brave and decent human beings with comical character flaws, who somehow managed to lead Israel through three major wars in spite of the nation being surrounded, outgunned, and torn by internal conflicts as well as external threats. During the War of Independence, Israel had no air force, no tanks, no large artillery, not even decent rifles. Yet they had to fight off an invasion by five armies that were well-supplied with all those weapons. In the 1956 war, Israel had to fight to free itself from constant terrorist attacks and economic strangulation, with the bumbling and inconsistent help of Britain and France, and against the fierce hostility of both the USA and the Soviet Union. Just before the Six-Day War, it was believed by the Arabs, many Israelis, and most of the world, that the extermination of Israel by its enemies was imminent.

Zev Barak loves two women: his wife Nakhama, a placid but strong woman of Moroccan Jewish descent, and his mistress Emily Cunningham, a charming American woman. Joseph Blumenthal is also torn between two women: Shayna Matisdorf, his true love, and Yael Luria, whom he marries.


  • The Hope (1993) by Herman Wouk, ISBN 0316955191

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