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.
“Israel and the Bomb.” By Avner Cohen, Columbia University Press, 470 pages, $27.50.
Cohen’s book should properly be labeled “Israel and the Bomb and Israeli-American Diplomacy Concerning the Bomb.”
The bomb, of course, is the nuclear bomb, which the world suspects Israel has, but whose existence Israel has never admitted.
untry steeped in memory, the Jewish state operates on a calendar of Jewish holidays that are implicitly or explicitly memorials, both religious and secular. But the fast pace of recent decades in Israel, one crisis or scandal or existential threat following closely on the heels of another, has left little time for communal remembrance of the latest events.
When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, the tragedy briefly united the war-torn Middle East — in grief.
For many it was the death of hope, an American president whose innovations in Middle East diplomacy, including the first U.S. commander-in-chief to sell major arms to Israel, brought him credibility “as a progressive with no grudge against Arab nationalism.”
So says Warren Bass in his new book “Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance (Oxford).
The most dramatic moment I’ve ever experienced at a GA (General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America) took place in 1977, in Dallas, on a Shabbat afternoon, when Golda Meir walked onto the stage for what many of the several thousand in the audience suspected might well be her last appearance in the U.S. And it was. She died in Jerusalem less than a year later.
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.
Shlomo Shulsinger, a Jerusalem native who came to the United States with his family as a teenager and became a pioneer in the Hebrew-speaking summer camping field, died Oct. 19 in his hometown after a long illness. He was 92 and was buried on the Mount of Olives.
Mr. Shulsinger — who was known to his campers simply as Shlomo — founded Camp Massad in Far Rockaway, Queens, and developed the day camp into three overnight camps in the Poconos. The camps closed in 1981.
Mr. Shulsinger retired in 1977, returning with his wife, Rivka, to Jerusalem.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU)
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The State of Israel does not have a state photographer, but if it did, he would be an 83-year-old native of Vienna.
David Rubinger came to Israel in 1939 as part of the Youth Aliyah movement, received his first camera in 1945, started his photo-journalist career by shooting pictures of Jerusalemites celebrating the UN’s approval of the Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, and never stopped shooting.