A suc­cess­ful revo­lu­tion

The Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES - • By GREER FAY CASHMAN

In last Fri­day’s Grapevine, ref­er­ence was made to the an­nual Bal­four Din­ner hosted by the Is­rael, Bri­tain and the Com­mon­wealth As­so­ci­a­tion in Tel Aviv and the Herzl Award din­ner hosted by the World Jewish Congress in New York, but not much was re­ported about ei­ther.

This is an at­tempt to make up for the la­cu­nae.

Among those at­tend­ing the IBCA din­ner, which was ad­dressed by Lord Roderick Bal­four and for­mer Jewish Agency chair­man

Natan Sha­ran­sky, were Bri­tish Am­bas­sador David Quar­rey, for­mer Am­bas­sador to the UK Daniel Taub, Aus­tralian Am­bas­sador Chris Can­nan, Nige­rian Am­bas­sador

Enoch Pear Duchi, who came in the tra­di­tional at­tire of his coun­try, and hon­orary con­sul for the Mar­shall Is­lands Ran Ra­hav. Also at­tend­ing were Cana­dian Am­bas­sador

Deborah Lyons and Cyprus Am­bas­sador Thes­salia Salina Sham­bos, both of whom will ap­pear on a panel at the an­nual Jerusalem Post Diplo­matic Con­fer­ence at the Wal­dorf As­to­ria Jerusalem on November 21. Also present was Dame Shirley Porter, who in many re­spects is the face of Bri­tain in Is­rael.

Though a sin­cere friend of Is­rael and the Jewish peo­ple, Bal­four is far from happy with some of Is­rael’s poli­cies, and had in­tended to men­tion this in his speech, but a friend coun­seled him that it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate, given that the din­ner was by way of a cel­e­bra­tion, so he sim­ply con­fined him­self to stat­ing that he had wanted to say some­thing con­tro­ver­sial, but that he wouldn’t. He did, how­ever, ac­cept a let­ter from a del­e­ga­tion of Com­bat­ants for Peace signed by Pales­tinian co­or­di­na­tor Muham­mad Oweida and Is­raeli co­or­di­na­tor Tuly Amit Flint. Prof.

Galia Golan, one of the mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion, told The Jerusalem Post that they have noth­ing against the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion. They just thought that it should also in­clude a shared home­land for the Pales­tini­ans.

Al­though Is­raelis tend to think in po­lit­i­cal terms of Arthur James Bal­four – or AJB, as he is called in the Bal­four fam­ily cir­cle and beyond – Lord Bal­four spoke of his great-un­cle as a great in­tel­lec­tual and a for­mi­da­ble philoso­pher, who to­gether with his si­b­lings was im­mersed in sci­en­tific learn­ing and de­bate. He was also a great friend of the Roth­schilds – a friend­ship be­tween the two fam­i­lies that con­tin­ues to this day.

Quot­ing a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween his great-un­cle and Chaim Weiz­mann, who had in­flu­enced him and very im­por­tantly had in­vented ace­tone, which was of great ben­e­fit to the Bri­tish dur­ing the First World War (the centenary of the end of which is be­ing com­mem­o­rated on Sun­day), who later be­came Is­rael’s found­ing pres­i­dent, AJB said: “You know, Dr. Weiz­mann, af­ter this war, you may get your Jerusalem.” And the rest is his­tory.

Quite an achiever in his own right, Lord Bal­four claimed not to have in­her­ited the fam­ily genes. “I just hap­pen to be the bearer of a name so re­spected in this coun­try,” he said.

For all that, he is a great ad­mirer of Is­rael’s sci­en­tific achieve­ments, in which he hap­pens to in­vest quite hand­somely. He ac­tu­ally talked about sev­eral of them, as well as about the sci­en­tists who had worked on them for years.

Sha­ran­sky talked about Jewish resur­gence and sur­vival. Born dur­ing the Com­mu­nist era, he knew noth­ing about Ju­daism and didn’t have a bar mitz­vah. “I was born into a so­ci­ety in which I had no iden­tity and no free­dom,” he said. Speak­ing of him­self and other Jews, he re­called that “the one thing we all had was an­tisemitism. We knew we were Jewish be­cause it was writ­ten on our ID cards. Then came 1967 and great news about Is­rael, which be­came cen­tral in our lives. Then we read the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion and Ex­o­dus, and we dis­cov­ered our iden­tity and our de­sire to be­long, which gave us the strength to fight for our free­dom.”

Sha­ran­sky de­clared the Zion­ist revo­lu­tion to be the most suc­cess­ful revo­lu­tion of the 20th cen­tury, and cred­ited it with even­tu­ally de­stroy­ing Com­mu­nism. ■ ROTH­SCHILD IS a name in Jewish tra­di­tion that is as­so­ci­ated with phi­lan­thropy of the high­est or­der. The gen­eral pub­lic may be aware of the sym­bols of the state, such as the Knes­set and Supreme Court build­ings, that were fi­nanced by mem­bers of the Roth­schild fam­ily, but there is so much more in so many dif­fer­ent ar­eas of achieve­ment – not just in Is­rael but in many parts of the Jewish world.

Al­though they lit­er­ally have cen­turies of phi­lan­thropy at­tached to their name, the

Roth­schilds rarely re­ceive the honor and ac­co­lades due to them. The World Jewish Congress de­cided that it was high time to show this fa­mous fam­ily a to­ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion, and last Wed­nes­day in New York pre­sented the fam­ily with the WJC Theodor Herzl Award, which rec­og­nizes Herzl’s mis­sion to cre­ate a safer and more tol­er­ant world for Jews.

The WJC’s Teddy Kollek Award was pre­sented to Robert Kraft, whose phil­an­thropic fin­ger­prints can also be seen in Is­rael and beyond. Speak­ing on be­half of the fam­ily, Lord

Ja­cob Roth­schild, who ac­cepted the award to­gether with Baron David de Roth­schild, who is chair­man of the gov­ern­ing board of the WJC, said that his fam­ily was proud to ac­cept the award be­cause Herzl “made the al­most im­pos­si­ble hap­pen af­ter 2,000 years. In do­ing so, he no less than changed the his­tory of the world.”

Pro­ceeds from the din­ner will be used for the se­cu­rity of Jews world­wide. ■ 2018 MAY well be the year that his­tory will des­ig­nate as the year in which women came into their own in Is­rael. It’s not that women did not pre­vi­ously oc­cupy prom­i­nent po­si­tions, but there is far greater vis­i­bil­ity in lo­cal govern­ment, the Knes­set, high-rank­ing po­si­tions in govern­ment min­istries, hi-tech, real es­tate, medicine, law, bank­ing – al­most ev­ery­where th­ese days, women are mak­ing an im­pact, in­clud­ing in Is­rael’s Arab and re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties.

Now the ques­tion is be­ing raised as to whether women can be a bridge be­tween a Jewish and demo­cratic state. In all prob­a­bil­ity, few peo­ple thought of it as a gen­der is­sue. But on Sun­day, November 11, at 8 p.m., Te­hila Fried­man, a mem­ber of the Yesh Atid Women’s Coun­cil, a leader in the lib­eral re­li­gious move­ment and a for­mer chair­woman of Ne’emanei To­rah V’Avo­dah, a Mod­ern Or­tho­dox move­ment pro­mot­ing plu­ral­ism and democ­racy, will speak in English on how women can serve as a bridge. The venue is the home of Dav­ina and Nir Kriel, 9 Rash­bag Street, Jerusalem.

■ WHAT A frus­trat­ing week last week must have been for Amer­i­can-born Is­raelis or Is­raelis born to Amer­i­can par­ents who had to give up their cit­i­zen­ship when they went into diplo­matic ser­vice or were elected to the Knes­set. Some of them would have surely wanted to vote in last week’s elec­tion.

Among those who come in­stantly to mind are Michael Oren, who is both an MK and a for­mer am­bas­sador to the US, Am­bas­sador to the US Ron Der­mer, Dore Gold, the for­mer di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the For­eign Min­istry and be­fore that Is­rael’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions, for­mer MK Rabbi Dov Lip­man, for­mer con­sul-gen­eral in Los An­ge­les Sam Grundw­erg, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Naf­tali Ben­nett, who is the son of Amer­i­can par­ents, and MK Rachel Azaria, whose mother was born in Amer­ica. ■ FRI­DAY MORN­ING events are very pop­u­lar in Tel Aviv, so much so that the IPO Foun­da­tion moved its an­nual gala from a glit­ter­ing night­time event to a some­what more ca­sual event that took place at brunch time last Fri­day at the Tel Aviv Hilton with a mati­nee con­cert by com­poser and pi­anist La­hav Shani, who is the in­com­ing mu­si­cal di­rec­tor of the Is­rael Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, and golden-voiced so­prano Chen Reiss.

The Hilton has tra­di­tion­ally been the home away from home for the IPO and the Foun­da­tion and Friends of the IPO, as well as for Zu­bin Me­hta, its long­time di­rec­tor, who au­to­mat­i­cally heads for the Hilton when he ex­its Ben-Gu­rion Air­port.

■ WHEN SHE came to Is­rael at the end of last month, Canada’s For­eign Min­is­ter

Chrys­tia Free­land’s itin­er­ary in­cluded an ad­dress at an event or­ga­nized by the Is­rael Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions. Dur­ing that meet­ing Free­land fore­shad­owed last week’s apol­ogy by Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau for Canada’s re­fusal to al­low the hun­dreds of Jewish refugees aboard the St. Louis to land in Canada.

She also ex­plained that be­cause she was raised on a farm, her metaphors tend to be based on ru­ral life. When Lau­rence Wein­baum, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the ICFR, an­nounced that Free­land’s han­dlers had in­di­cated that it was time to wind up, Free­land’s spon­ta­neous re­sponse was: “Han­dlers? You make me sound like a cow.”

In­ci­den­tally, sev­eral of the sur­vivors of the St. Louis were present when Trudeau made his for­mal apol­ogy, in­clud­ing Ana Maria Gor­don, the only one of the sur­vivors who ac­tu­ally lives in Canada. She was four years old when the ship was de­nied en­try. Trudeau, who met with Gor­don pri­vately, said in his pub­lic apol­ogy that Canada turn­ing its back on Euro­pean Jews was “un­ac­cept­able then, and it is un­ac­cept­able now. He noted that there are still Holo­caust de­niers, and that an­tisemitism re­mains preva­lent in Canada, with Jews as the most fre­quent tar­gets of re­li­giously mo­ti­vated hate crimes.

greerfc@gmail.com

(Sha­har Azran/ WJC)

FROM LEFT: Baron David de Roth­schild, Lord Ja­cob Roth­schild, Ron­ald S. Lauder and Robert Kraft.

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