The Laundry Room: The British Mandate over Palestine is coming to an end. The purpose of the Mandate was to divide a portion of the now defunct Ottoman Empire into two British protectorates: Palestine, which would include a home for the Jewish people and Transjordan, an emirate under the rule of the Hashemite family.
The problem: how would these two diametrically opposed peoples survive after the mandate ended? On the day in 1946 the King David Hotel, outside the “Old City” of Jerusalem, is bombed, peace-loving Laila Posner becomes a victim. Swept up in the blast, she flies through the air like a “dove” but lands, transformed, into a “hawk,” but for all the wrong reasons.
Upon recovery, Laila joins a group of young people—many of whom had been orphaned by the Holocaust—sent to Palestine for protection. Forty-five of these Young Pioneers form a kibbutz and resolve never to let someone else direct their lives. Hence a new generation filled with determination and strength of purpose arises from the ovens of the Holocaust. The success of the kibbutz reaches the ears of the Haganah, the Jewish secret police, who approach the kibbutz with a proposition: participate in a clandestine operation to save the Jewish state. It is during her time at the Ayalon Institute—a name given to disguise its activities—that Laila comes of age, taking a leading role in the operation of the kibbutz and running the secret factory.
In the face of daily challenges to survive—volatile compounds, marauding Arabs, and the fear of discovery by the British—Laila finds the strength to go on. Amid the turmoil of the time, a close-knit community is formed, spawning lifetime attachments and love. Laila, however, never forgets the young British soldier who came to her assistance during the bombing of the King David Hotel causing friction between her and her kibbutz sweetheart. His presence in and out of her life leaves her uneasy about her future. The selflessness of these youths, many no older than eighteen, who came to the aid of their country, is a testament to how heroes are formed out of ordinary human beings.