Bal­four most fre­quently re­peated sur­name in Is­rael this week

The Jerusalem Post - - OB­SER­VA­TIONS - Roth­schild, Ja­cob Elkin. • By GREER FAY CASHMAN Roth­schild Ze’ev Vladimir Putin. Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu Sara Ne­tanyahu Ne­tanyahu Magome­dov, Ziyavudin Han­nah, Kesten­baum; Isaac Her­zog Michal; Shirley Porter; Ron­ald Co­hen; Ian Carmel Gains­ford; David Quar­rey;

It’s been a busy Bal­four week for Lord who, af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion cen­te­nary events in Lon­don, came to Jerusalem for the Bal­four Day Con­fer­ence at the Knes­set, the sign­ing of the agree­ment be­tween the Rus­sian State Li­brary in Moscow and the Na­tional Li­brary of Is­rael for the dig­i­ti­za­tion of the Gun­zburg col­lec­tion, one of the world’s most com­pre­hen­sive and valu­able col­lec­tions of Jew­ish manuscripts, and for the Bal­four cen­te­nary din­ner hosted by the Is­rael, Bri­tain and the Com­mon­wealth As­so­ci­a­tion, which co­in­ci­den­tally was on the eve of Kristall­nacht, which with hind­sight can be seen as the first step in what was later con­ceived to be the Fi­nal So­lu­tion to the Jew­ish Ques­tion. It was also the eve, ac­cord­ing to the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar, of the 65th an­niver­sary of the death of Is­rael’s first pres­i­dent, Chaim Weiz­mann, who played such a vi­tal role in se­cur­ing the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion.

AT THE Knes­set, at the Na­tional Li­brary and at the IBCA din­ner at the Tel Aviv Hil­ton, it was men­tioned that this year marks the cen­te­nary of two rev­o­lu­tions – the Rus­sian Rev­o­lu­tion and the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion, each of which im­pacted on the his­tory of the Jew­ish peo­ple.

At the Na­tional Li­brary, whose new build­ing is be­ing funded to a large ex­tent by Roth­schild, it was also noted that he was in­flu­en­tial in en­abling the dig­i­tized ver­sion of the Gun­zburg col­lec­tion to come to Jerusalem. It was also noted that he and other mem­bers of his fam­ily have been piv­otal forces in many other projects in Is­rael. Al­though it was not specif­i­cally stated, sub­stan­tial sums of money en­abled the con­struc­tion of the per­ma­nent home of the Knes­set, the con­struc­tion of the Supreme Court and sig­nif­i­cant re­pairs in the Pres­i­dent’s Res­i­dence. It should also be re­mem­bered that Is­rael’s wine in­dus­try is greatly in­debted to the Roth­schilds.

There were sev­eral speeches in English, He­brew and Rus­sian be­fore the sign­ing cer­e­mony, but none quite as mov­ing as that of Jerusalem Af­fairs Min­is­ter

He said that as a doc­toral stu­dent and lec­turer at the He­brew Univer­sity be­fore en­ter­ing pol­i­tics, he fre­quently came across ref­er­ences to the Gun­zburg col­lec­tion while do­ing his re­search in Jew­ish and me­dieval stud­ies, and of­ten won­dered if the col­lec­tion would ever reach Jerusalem. Later, when he was sent to Moscow by the He­brew Univer­sity to set up the Chase Cen­ter for the Study of Jew­ish Sciences in Rus­sian, he vis­ited the Rus­sian State Li­brary in Moscow on sev­eral oc­ca­sions and was able to ac­tu­ally see parts of the Gun­zburg col­lec­tion.

Later, as a politi­cian, he was on a fre­quent com­mute be­tween Is­rael and Rus­sia and raised the is­sue of the Gun­zburg col­lec­tion with ev­ery of­fi­cial with whom he spoke, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent He also cred­ited Prime Min­is­ter with broach­ing the sub­ject at ev­ery meet­ing that he had with Putin, and like­wise cred­ited Putin for be­ing sym­pa­thetic to Is­rael’s as­pi­ra­tions in this di­rec­tion and us­ing his in­flu­ence to bring about some form of progress.

Elkin was de­lighted that at least the dig­i­tized ver­sion was com­ing to Jerusalem and hope­ful that one day the ac­tual col­lec­tion would find its place in the cap­i­tal of the Jew­ish peo­ple.

Ne­tanyahu had been sched­uled to at­tend the event, but other com­mit­ments pre­cluded his par­tic­i­pa­tion. In­stead, he sent a very warm mes­sage of con­grat­u­la­tions. How­ever,

was there, look­ing re­mark­ably ra­di­ant, given the trou­bles cur­rently vis­it­ing the fam­ily. She wore a flat­ter­ing, clas­sic, long-sleeved black dress and, seated at Roth­schild’s ta­ble, en­tered into an­i­mated con­ver­sa­tion. Rus­sian bil­lion­aire

with­out whose gen­eros­ity, through his Peri Foun­da­tion, the dig­i­ti­za­tion agree­ment would not have come to fruition, when in­tro­duced to Sara Ne­tanyahu, kissed her hand, in the cus­tom of the Eu­ro­pean gentle­man. In Is­rael, be­cause he hadn’t asked her first whether he could do so, the ges­ture would be char­ac­ter­ized as sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

AT THE record-break­ing at­ten­dance at the IBCA din­ner, in ad­di­tion to key­note speak­ers Roth­schild and Knes­set Speaker at­ten­dees in­cluded Roth­schild’s daugh­ter, and three of his grand­chil­dren; leader wife, Sir op­po­si­tion and his Dame Sir and Lady British Am­bas­sador Aus­tralian Am­bas­sador

Nige­rian Am­bas­sador Cyprus Am­bas­sador

for­mer am­bas­sador to the UK

who is cur­rently di­rec­tor of strat­egy and plan­ning at the Roth­schild Foun­da­tion in Jerusalem; and for­mer Mos­sad chief and his wife,

Any­one who thinks that Bal­four events are now over is mak­ing a big mis­take.

a past chair­man of IBCA, who heads the Bal­four Cen­te­nary Com­mit­tee, which in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­cans and Cana­di­ans in Is­rael, B’nai B’rith World Cen­ter, English Speak­ing Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion, IBCA, Is­rael For­ever, the Is­rael branch of the Jew­ish His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety of Eng­land, Hi­tach­dut Olei Bri­tan­nia, Telfed South African Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion in Is­rael and the Zion­ist Coun­cil in Is­rael, has events lined up till Novem­ber 2, 2018. They will be tak­ing place in Karmiel, Haifa, Ra’anana, Re­hovot, Ra­mat Aviv, Her­zliya Pi­tuah and Ra­mat Gan, Ad­di­tional lo­ca­tions have yet to be de­ter­mined.

But to get back to the IBCA din­ner, Lord Roth­schild com­mended var­i­ous mem­bers of his fam­ily for Is­rael projects with which they have been as­so­ci­ated. Per­suaded by a cousin, he came to Is­rael for the first time in 1962, and has been vis­it­ing Is­rael at least once ev­ery year ever since. His fam­ily has been sup­port­ing Is­raeli as­pi­ra­tions for the past 150 years, he said, and hopes to re­main in­volved for at least an­other 150 years.

The changes that he has wit­nessed in terms of tech­nol­ogy and ex­tra­or­di­nary cul­tural and lit­er­ary achieve­ments “have been noth­ing less than breath­tak­ing” and are “re­mark­able by any stan­dards,” he said. He com­mended Is­rael’s vi­brant democ­racy and le­gal sys­tem, find­ing it al­most mirac­u­lous that “those who grew up with­out jus­tice could es­tab­lish a jus­tice sys­tem.”

The Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion, said Roth­schild, “is not only a his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment but is also as­pi­ra­tional. Re­fer­ring to Weiz­mann, who had long lob­bied for what re­sulted in the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion, Roth­schild said that Weiz­mann had called it “the Magna Carta of Jew­ish lib­er­a­tion.”

He noted that his cousins Dorothy and James de Roth­schild had opened the doors of the British es­tab­lish­ment to Weiz­mann. He char­ac­ter­ized the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion as a “his­tor­i­cal event that shaped more his­tor­i­cal events” and quoted philoso­pher Isa­iah Ber­lin as writ­ing that the ac­tions of hu­man be­ings can change the course of his­tory. Lord Roth­schild, who con­sid­ers Weiz­mann to have been a ge­nius, placed him in that cat­e­gory.

IBCA chair­man when in­tro­duc­ing Lord Roth­schild and list­ing some of his bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails, un­der­scored that the peer’s per­sonal col­lec­tion of 15,000 bot­tles of Roth­schild wines dates back to 1870.

EDEL­STEIN RE­LATED at the IBCA din­ner that in 1977, dur­ing the 60th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion, he had been a high school stu­dent in the So­viet Union and had been en­meshed in an ar­gu­ment with his teacher as to whether Stalin could be con­sid­ered a hero. Af­ter­ward, he went home and told his par­ents that he’d had enough and no longer wanted to stay in the coun­try. He ap­plied for a visa to em­i­grate and, in­stead of leav­ing, a few years later found him­self in prison. He was re­leased in 1987 to­gether with many So­viet dis­si­dents. “They had nowhere to go. I had a coun­try wait­ing for me,” he said.

He ar­rived in Is­rael that same year, and within less than a decade be­came a found­ing mem­ber of the Yis­rael b’Aliya Party, which was con­ceived by

In 1997, he be­came im­mi­gra­tion and ab­sorp­tion min­is­ter. While not ex­actly negat­ing any­thing that had been said by Roth­schild, Edel­stein, who grew up in a some­what dif­fer­ent mi­lieu, said that “the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion is not about his­tory. It’s about each one of us.”

A SEVEN-MEM­BER panel of High Court judges con­vened this week to once again ex­am­ine the Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing Law, specif­i­cally with re­gard to an amend­ment in­tro­duced by the prime min­is­ter to split the Is­raeli Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, re­move from it all re­spon­si­bil­ity for news and cur­rent af­fairs, and es­tab­lish a sep­a­rate news cor­po­ra­tion. The court did not look on this with fa­vor, and

deputy pres­i­dent of the Supreme Court, stated that this was not a model that ex­ists in West­ern demo­cratic coun­tries.

Ne­tanyahu’s move to cre­ate a sep­a­rate news cor­po­ra­tion has been widely in­ter­preted as yet an­other at­tempt by the govern­ment to con­trol the me­dia, but it’s pos­si­ble that af­ter hav­ing met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the staff of the now de­funct Is­rael Broad­cast­ing Author­ity be­fore its clo­sure, Ne­tanyahu was gen­uinely moved by the plight of those who would find them­selves job­less, and thought that a sep­a­rate news cor­po­ra­tion would help to save more IBA peo­ple from be­ing un­em­ployed.

While a large num­ber have been taken on by Kan, the broad­cast­ing arm of the IBC, some 100 for­mer IBA em­ploy­ees have no in­come at all, ac­cord­ing to a re­port that ap­peared in last week’s Ye­diot Yerusha­layim. The peo­ple con­cerned have not been for­mally dis­missed from the IBA, and there­fore can­not claim un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits. Over the past six months, they have eaten into their sav­ings or have had to de­pend on the gen­eros­ity of rel­a­tives, but such a sit­u­a­tion should not be al­lowed to go on in­def­i­nitely. WHEN PRES­I­DENT

and wife, ar­rived in Spain and were greeted by King and Queen the king kissed Nechama Rivlin’s hand. Later, at the state din­ner hosted by the roy­als, and at a re­cip­ro­cal re­cep­tion hosted by the Rivlins, Le­tizia held Nechama Rivlin’s hand, as had done dur­ing the visit to Is­rael ear­lier this year by the US pres­i­dent and his en­tourage. Nechama Rivlin suf­fers from a res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease that ne­ces­si­tates her tak­ing an oxy­gen tank with her wher­ever she goes. Some­times she has great dif­fi­culty in breath­ing, but other women in high places are sen­si­tive to her prob­lem and lend an arm or a help­ing hand.

(Cour­tesy Thes­salia-Salina Sham­bos)

TEL AVIV so­cialite Alice Krieger is flanked by Aus­tralian Am­bas­sador Chris Can­nan and Cypriot Am­bas­sador Thes­sali­aSalina Sham­bos at the IBCA din­ner in honor of the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion cen­ten­nial.

LORD JA­COB ROTH­SCHILD (cen­ter), IBCA chair­man Alex Deutsch (right) and Hil­ton Is­rael head of pub­lic re­la­tions Motti Verses share a ‘Bal­four cock­tail’ at the IBCA Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion cen­ten­nial din­ner.

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