As a new biography shows, the second half of Arthur Koestler’s life, marked by a peculiar mix of Zionism and Jewish self-hatred, was one of steadily declining reputation.
If you were Jewish and lived in the 1940s, to say that Arthur Koestler was on your side was no small thing. Then at the height of his renown, Koestler, born in Budapest in 1905, had become one of Western literature’s most revered figures. His anti-Stalinist novel “Darkness at Noon,” published in 1940 and still his most famous, made him one of the first liberals to come out against Communism. The book would partly inspire George Orwell, an author whose reputation today far eclipses Koestler’s.
Jerusalem — For more years than he cares to remember, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch and his movement, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, have been pressing Israel’s Interior Ministry to comply with the law.
But that law, which requires the ministry to accept and register as Jews immigrants who have converted to Judaism abroad, repeatedly has faced a harsh political reality:
In the clearest account to date of how Israeli political candidates exploit U.S. charities for their campaign needs, an activist for Israel’s new centrist party, Mercaz, this week detailed its plans to raise at least $750,000 from U.S. donors through an American nonprofit organization.
“[We’ve] created a ‘Friends of Mercaz’-type agency to which people can actually donate their money,” enthused Shelly Sitton, referring to the Mercaz Party. “The other parties have been doing it for decades.”
Nearly a half-million dollars raised in America for Israeli children by Likud fund-raisers cannot be properly accounted for, a joint investigation by The Jewish Week and the Israeli daily paper Haaretz has found.
The joint probe, which included scrutiny of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign financing, has found that some of the money in question — about $47,000 — was instead channeled directly to the Likud Party and other Israeli political causes.
With the resignation of Foreign Minister David Levy from his government this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unsheathing his final, and perhaps strongest, weapon for staying in power: the opposition Labor Party.
Even as some among those remaining in his government threatened to bring it down if he ceded any more West Bank territory to Palestinian control, others vowed to do so if he did not.
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
With Avigdor Lieberman poised to play the role of coalition kingmaker after Tuesday’s Israeli electoral tangle, some Jewish groups here are readying a hasbara campaign aimed at convincing Americans that the Yisrael Beiteinu leader is not the racist and political extremist portrayed in the Israeli and international media.
The conviction of Haim Ramon, former Israeli justice minister, on an indecency charge this week, may lead to a shakeup of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government and a re-examination of the country’s sexual harassment laws, Israeli politicians said.
Ramon, 56, a close ally of Olmert, was found guilty Wednesday by Tel Aviv’s Magistrate Court for forcibly kissing a 21-year-old soldier at a party six months ago. He faces three years in jail, and is expected to appeal the verdict.
Jerusalem — A visitor handed Teddy Kollek a book to autograph several years ago. Kollek, sitting behind his desk in the office of The Jerusalem Foundation, where he worked as international chairman after losing a race for re-election as the city’s mayor in 1993, looked at the cover — the book, distributed by the foundation, was a collection of writings and photographs from his career.
“Where did you get this?” Kollek asked.An assistant said she had given it to the visitor.