web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Prime Ministers: I Liked The Book So Much, I Had To Speak With The Author


Rabin was furious. Avner left the Prime Minister’s Office and made his way to the “Gra” shul, where he regularly davened, for Kabbalas Shabbos. R Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, ztl, who presided over the shul, asked him why he seemed so downcast. When Avner told him, R Shlomo Zalman said,  “Perhaps you do not know all of the facts.” Avner took this as a heter and returned to Rabin – who was still furious but respected Avner nevertheless.

Avner’s religious observance played a part in an anecdote in the book that had me laughing out loud. The setting was a state dinner at the White House hosted by President Gerald Ford in honor of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Avner, of course, eats only kosher food, so he was served a heaping plate of fresh fruit and vegetables topped with whipped cream and piled so high it “glittered and sparkled like a firework.”  The concoction drew the attention of Ford, who whispered into Rabin’s ear.  Rabin whispered back. Whereupon, “rising to his full height and grinning ear to ear, the president raised his glass high and called out to me… ‘Happy birthday young  fella! Let’s sing a toast to the birthday boy.’ ”

Everyone stood up and began singing “Happy birthday dear Yehuda.” Avner describes himself as having been “mortified.”

When Avner asked Rabin after the dinner why he told Ford it was his birthday – it was not – Rabin answered, “What else should I have told him – the truth? If I did that, tomorrow there’d be a headline in the newspapers that you ate kosher and I didn’t, and the religious parties would bolt the coalition, and I’ll have a government crisis on my hands. Ani meshuga?” Am I crazy?”

Avner devotes more pages of his book to Menachem Begin than to the other prime ministers, and he is not at all reticent about his admiration for Begin. One of the stories Avner relates involves Begin’s attempt to reach out to Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, perceived by some as being cold toward Israel.

Begin had learned that Brzezinski’s father served as a Polish diplomat in Germany between 1931 and 1935 and had been involved in efforts to rescue Jews. Begin publicly presented Brzezinski with a dossier containing documents recently discovered in a Holocaust archive in Jerusalem that detailed the elder Brzezinski’s efforts on behalf of European Jews. Zbigniew Brzezinski was overwhelmed to learn of his father’s heroics.

Avner also related to me the following revealing story about Begin: Shortly after Begin first took office, a call came in from a yeshiva student who wondered whether the prime minister wished to have his mezuzahs checked.  Avner initially “pushed him of,” but when he mentioned this to Begin as he wished him a Shabbat Shalom that Friday afternoon, Begin exclaimed “zeh chashuv meod” (“this is very important”). Avner located the yeshiva student and when the young man came to the prime minister’s residence, Begin himself recited the berachot and personally affixed every mezuzah in the house.

There is so much more in The Prime Ministers. Anyone interested in the history of Israel as told by an insider should pick up a copy immediately.

 

Daniel Retter, Esq., is counsel to the Manhattan law firm of Herrick, Feinstein, LLP, where he practices immigration and international business law. He is a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press.

About the Author: Daniel Retter, Esq., author of “HaMafteach,” the indexed reference guide to Talmud Bavli and mishnayos, is counsel to the Manhattan law firm of Herrick, Feinstein, LLP. He is a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Prime Ministers: I Liked The Book So Much, I Had To Speak With The Author”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat meet with security officials over Oct. 22 terror attack.
Netanyahu Convenes Top Brass in Jerusalem Over Terror Attack
Latest Indepth Stories
Bills to restore the balance of power in Israel will be fought by the not-so-judicial left.

Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”

Chaye Zisel Braun

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

Peace Now Chairman Yariv Oppenheimer

The Israeli left, led by tenured academics, endorses pretty much anything harmful to its own country

Grave site of terror victim Leon Klinghoffer.

We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

More Articles from Daniel Retter
Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot together in concert.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

Waterfalls-032814

The climate is near perfect. From November through May the weather is dry and warm. June through October is referred to as the rainy season, though the weather is still comfortable and the occasional showers barely interfere with touring, sporting activities or sunbathing.

Twenty-seven-year-old IDF Lieutenant (res.) Aharon Karov completed the New York City Marathon earlier this month, less than five years after an explosion in Gaza left him near death.

There’s an eerie silence and tears can be seen running down the faces of young parents and elderly grandparents and siblings of all ages.

There was a time when an Orthodox Jewish traveler, offered a choice of visiting London, Paris or Rome, likely would have put Rome last on the list. Today, that would be a big mistake. Rome is a marvelous place to visit, especially for a religious Jew interested in the historical roots of the post-Second Temple Diaspora.

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, formerly the chief rabbi of Israel and currently chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, visited the United States recently to address the Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium and to appear at a Chabad Shabbos retreat in Fort Lauderdale.

The Beis HaMikdash was destroyed due to sinas chinam, baseless hatred. With the Three Weeks and Tisha B’Av now behind us, have we learned anything from this national tragedy, or is history repeating itself?

I had just finished reading The Prime Ministers (Toby Press) and enjoyed every one of its 700-plus pages. Yahuda Avner’s “fly on the wall” account spans the governments of Levi Eshkol (Six-Day War), Golda Meir (Yom Kippur War), Yitzhak Rabin (Entebbe, Oslo), and Menachem Begin (peace treaty with Sadat, attack on Iraqi nuclear reactor, Lebanon invasion), describing sensitive, frightening and sometimes hilarious events, mostly of the kind you will never read in a newspaper.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-prime-ministers-i-liked-the-book-so-much-i-had-to-speak-with-the-author/2011/11/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: