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A Knock at the Door

The Story of My Secret Work With Israeli MIAs and POWs

Published by Wicked Son
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

The inside story of Israel’s secret negotiations to bring home their soldiers taken hostage by terrorist groups.

Suppose one day, your son or husband, while serving in the military or working as a journalist, is taken hostage by a terrorist group—and you have no idea whether your loved one is dead or alive or how to even make contact with the insurgents holding him. It’s a nightmare scenario that has sadly taken place dozens of times in the past twenty years in the Middle East.

Here in the U.S., the government does not always get involved. Instead, it will engage the services of a neutral country to negotiate with the terrorists. Unfortunately, many times the terrorists insist on never-ending demands in order to torment the family of the hostage. Unlike Israel, we’ve never had a central address for these types of scenarios. But maybe after reading this book, it’s an idea we could, and should, consider. Ory Slonim, the international “door knocker” was an invention of necessity by the Israeli government.

There were many good and brave human beings involved in this matter. Here for the first time is the story of the one man in Israel who, for more than two decades, was known as the “door knocker.” He had been a private Israeli lawyer when he was asked to undertake, on behalf of the Israeli government, secret negotiations to find out the whereabouts of Israeli soldiers who were taken hostage by terrorist groups. His ultimate mission was to bring them home, dead or alive. In his capacity as negotiator, his story will take into you into the worlds of the furtive Mossad, the twisted minds of terrorists, the forever traumatized lives of the parents whose children never came home from battle, and into Ory’s own resilient, compassionate, and amazingly resolute negotiations when ordinary people would have easily broken down.

About The Author

Born in 1942 in Israel, six years before the creation of the State of Israel, Ory Slonim had grown up with the ravages of war all around him. The Arab attacks against the Jews and then of course the War of Independence in which 1 percent of the entire Jewish population was killed fighting against the five Arab armies bent on annihilating all the Jews. But Ory, who came from a seventh-generation family that had lived in Hebron, grew up in the Tel Aviv area and became a successful private lawyer.

Prior to college and law school, he had entered the Israel Defense Forces and became a parachuter and was promoted to major as a parachuting instructor. He married his sweetheart Tamy and began practicing law in 1970. It was in 1974 that he and Tamy were injured in a deadly terrorist attack in a Tel Aviv cinema theatre when a bomb planted by a terrorist was detonated. Though Ory and Tamy recovered, others did not. Unfortunately, this was the norm for those growing up in Israel at the time.

In 1986, Israeli President Haim Herzog, who was well acquainted with Slonim, came up with the idea of appointing Ory as special counsel to the defense minister for issues of POW-MIAs, one who would come from the civilian world, concentrating first and foremost on relations with families.

Slonim enlisted in the mission first, as an unofficial appointment, then officially but would only accept a payment of one Israeli Shekel per year. In ’88, he received the standard of defense minister’s counsel, high security classification, and gained senior cooperation with the Mossad. And for the next thirty-six years, he searched throughout the world for those young IDF soldiers, pilots, and reservists who were captured in battles with terrorist organizations but were never heard from again. His mission to find the missing boys—all in their teens or twenties—took him all over the world to meetings in nations that did not recognize Israel and in meetings with ruthless terrorist representatives. At the same time, he always kept his duty to the families to those who kept on believing, understandably, that the state of Israel will do all they can to bring their dears back home.

He would meet with their parents, their siblings, and their husbands hundreds of times to keep them informed, to try to reassure them—even though these meetings were the most painful of his life. So, in the capacity of knocking on doors all over the world as well on the families of the POW-MIAs, Ory became known as the “Door Knocker.”

Ory succeeded in tracking down what happened to all those who had fallen and even collected the remains of a missing soldier after nearly two decades. But in 2006, Ory turned over the baton to others to fulfill the same mission.

Ory was subsequently recognized by the State of Israel in numerous honorifics for his unparalleled dedication to the State of Israel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wicked Son (December 21, 2021)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781642939323

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Raves and Reviews

“Ory Slonim’s four decades of volunteering to save Israeli POWs and MIAs, bringing an end to their captivities—or their families' uncertainties—is one of the toughest roles in Israeli life. An amazing story that illustrates the ancient Jewish saying, ‘Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.’”

– Ehud Barak, former Israeli PM and Defence Minister, and former IDF Chief of Staff

“Ory Slonim’s gripping autobiography is a stunning blend of national and personal history. Throughout our decades-long acquaintance, I have witnessed Ory’s metamorphosis between the private, public, and third sectors—each of which he mastered—and his abilities as a successful high profile criminal attorney led to the introduction to my late father, the sixth President of the State of Israel Chaim Herzog, who mobilized him to the task of redeeming our Missing in Action. He then became the Special Advisor to the Minister of Defense, and an expert in negotiations regarding POWs and MIAs. In his work, Ory presents his life story—a moving statement by a man who intuited the import of authentic interpersonal connection, the power of eye contact, the significance of viewing every individual as an equal. It is also proof of the Ory rule: Don’t complain, don’t explain, let your actionsdo the talking. This is a fascinating piece which I wholeheartedly recommend and endorse in no uncertain terms.”

– Isaac Herzog, President of the State of Israel

“Ory Slonim’s life story truly deserves to be told all over the world. You have dedicated your mind to the law, your heart to children (Variety International) with special needs, and your soul to Israel’s security and the fate of its missing soldiers. And you have devoted your soul and incredible sensitivity with your unique negotiating skills to securing the release of Israel’s missing and captured soldiers. Truly the face of all that is good and beautiful about Israel, portraying its compassion, morality, and humanity. Your life story is an incredible tapestry of excellence, values, spirit, compassion, and leadership."

– Ambassador Dan Gillerman

“‘In Jewish lore,’ the Israeli attorney Ory Slonim observes, ‘captivity is regarded as the worst fate of all.’ In his new memoir, A Knock at the Door: The Story of My Secret Work with Israeli MIAs and POWs, readers come to understand why and what it means for a society to be guided by this worldview. Slonim worked tirelessly for more than three decades to secure the release of those Israelis, living and dead, who had been taken hostage by Israel’s enemies. No other nation in modern history has been so consistently targeted for annihilation. Few other countries have been so consistently subjected to tragedy. In Israel, the late Irish diplomat Conor Cruise O’Brien once observed that ‘there is always the shadow of a new Holocaust.’”

– Sean Durns, The Washington Examiner

“Slonim details his efforts in a memoir—A Knock at the Door: The Story of My Secret Work With Israeli MIAs and POWs—that was originally published in 2019 in Hebrew. Slonim wants American readers to understand the challenges Israel faces that are different from most other countries, and why it is willing to pay such a disproportionate price in releasing convicted terrorists to bring peace of mind to the families of the missing. Regardless of the humanitarian aspect and the pleading of the compassionate Jewish heart, we have an obligation to free those who were sent to battle on our behalf and in the name of the law. If it were up to these young people, they may well have preferred to go to university or lie on the beach in Thailand instead of serving in the army. But they were sent to war, and they should go with the knowledge that we will do everything it takes to bring them back home.”

– Steven Emerson, The Algemeiner

“Slonim details his efforts in a memoir—A Knock at the Door: The Story of My Secret Work With Israeli MIAs and POWs—that was originally published in 2019 in Hebrew. Slonim wants American readers to understand the challenges Israel faces that are different from most other countries, and why it is willing to pay such a disproportionate price in releasing convicted terrorists to bring peace of mind to the families of the missing. Regardless of the humanitarian aspect and the pleading of the compassionate Jewish heart, we have an obligation to free those who were sent to battle on our behalf and in the name of the law. If it were up to these young people, they may well have preferred to go to university or lie on the beach in Thailand instead of serving in the army. But they were sent to war, and they should go with the knowledge that we will do everything it takes to bring them back home.”

– Steven Emerson, The Algemeiner

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