Meaningful Passover Season

Wishing all of our friends an insightful and meaningful Passover season. May the observance of this ancient “festival of freedom,” for ancient Israel contribute to the true liberation of all humans as well as the unfortunate beasts whom we enslave and torture so the vision of the Prophet might be fulfilled.

And they will neither hurt nor destroy in all my holy Mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Creator as the waters cover the seas.

IMG_8214

 

Remembering David Horowitz (13): United Israel–An Iconic Symbol

  On New Year’s Day 1959, Cuban President Fulgencio Batista resigns and flees to the Dominican Republic, clearing the way for Fidel Castro to seize power in February. Cuba would become the first Communist state in the West.

In another first, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev tours parts of the United States and meets with President Dwight Eisenhower at Camp David.

It was announced in Jerusalem that the Government Statistical Office reported that the population of Israel had reached the 2,022,500 mark. Of this number, 1,801,806 are Jews.

The purpose and message of United Israel World Union continued to gain popularity and widespread approval both here and abroad, attracting many leading professionals in various fields.

A number of noted surgeons, authors and other distinguished leaders attended a January 18 meeting of UIWU held at the Dr. M. J. McDonald Reception Studio adjacent to the Union’s headquarters at 507 Fifth Avenue. Among those present were the famous physicians Dr. Harry Cohen and Dr. Sholom Shakin, both active in numerous humanitarian endeavors and brotherhood activities. Present also, was author Shlomo Dov London, executive director of Keren Or. All joined in hailing the universal brotherhood program of UIWU and called for greater support to the movement’s worldwide activities.

The meeting opened with an invocation by Falasha Rabbi Hailu Moshe Paris, the spiritual head of the Congregation Beth B’nai Israel located at 204 Lenox Avenue, New York. Rabbi Paris had spent a year studying in a Jerusalem Yeshiva, arriving in the Holy Land aboard the same Israeli ship as UIWU’s officer Avraham Fuhrman in the summer of 1957.

Born in Ethiopia, Rabbi Paris himself is a remarkable story. He became a close and lifelong friend of David Horowitz, supporting the mission and work of United Israel World Union for many years. He also served as a member of UIWU’s Board of Directors. His amazing story and contribution to UIWU will be featured in a future article.

Rabbi Paris at his Beth Shalom Synagogue
Rabbi Paris at his Beth Shalom Synagogue

On April 19, a treaty of friendship between Israel and Liberia was signed in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Joining other African states such as Ghana and Nigeria, they sought the opportunity to acquire the advanced technologies that the State of Israel had to offer. They viewed the Jewish State as their solution to the problem of securing modern techniques in agriculture, science, industry and medicine without pawning their future to the departing colonial powers.

The Arab states in Africa; Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and the UAR, whose influence kept Israel out of the Bandung Conference, moved to block the new friendship. They would fail to do so.

During the 16th Annual Meeting of UIWU on April 26, the national board unanimously approved a new United Israel World Union emblem. The new insignia holds special significance because of its unique design and the little-known story behind it.

Five years earlier, noted artist and sculptor, Dr. Rene Shapshak and his wife Eugenie, moved from Johannesburg, South Africa into the famous Chelsea Hotel on 7th Avenue located in downtown Manhattan. Born and educated in Paris, Shapshak was an alumnus of the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris that produced such giants as Claude Monet and Pierre Renoir.

Dr. Shapshak had become a world-renowned artist and sculptor, bringing his artistic and cultural contributions to many countries. His art is represented in Buckingham Palace, in the Rothschilde, Schiff and Schonegevel Collections in England and Athens, Greece and in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. He did sculptures of Mahatma Ghandi and John Cecil Rhodes of Great Britain. His Rhodes sculpture is in the Rhodes Museum at Bishops Stotford, England. Among his sculptures in New York City are those of Cardinal Francis Spellman, Dr. Leo B. Mayer and Playwright Arthur Miller.

In 1956, Dr. Shapshak had the privilege of sculpting a bronze bust of former President Harry S. Truman. The sculpture was placed in the Hall of Fame at the Ben Yehuda National Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. It was unveiled in Israel on Truman’s 73rd birthday.

ShapshakTruman

Now, about that new UIWU emblem; Dr. Rene Shapshak was a close friend of David Horowitz and an active member of the United Israel organization. It was Dr. Shapshak who personally designed the new insignia. Brilliantly conceived, the Seal itself represents a dynamic activating Wheel with a spinning Star of David in which the Earth revolves and on which is the Levitical escutcheon with the Ten Commandments. It honors YHVH as the true Savior as indicated in the ancient Hebrew script YHVH Hu Go’alenu. On the periphery of the spinning wheel are the symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel.

cropped-Newest-Logo-COLOR-3-1-10.jpg

The special seal crafted by internationally renowned Dr. Rene Shapshak remains today our official logo appearing on all organizational documents and stationery.

In the summer of ’59, David Horowitz began a multi-part series entitled “An Answer to Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason.” Paine (1739-1809), author of Common Sense, The Rights of Man, The Crisis, and The Age of Reason, was an English and American political activist, philosopher and revolutionary. His Common Sense became the clarion call that led to the independence of the thirteen American colonies and freed the States from the tyranny of monarchial rule. The insightful series of expositions written by Horowitz received high praise from noted scholars, rabbis and scientists, including Professor Robert H. Pfeiffer of Harvard and Luxembourg’s Chief Rabbi Dr. Charles Lehrman.

From Tel Aviv came a strong endorsement and a call to action. Reuven Ben Arje-Lev, author of Halicha Ladror, a history of the great liberation movements and the Jewish spirit that inspired them, appealed to United Israel World Union for the creation of a Torah Center in Israel. Calling UIWU “the right association for such a center,” Ben Arje-Lev declared “United Israel has proven its faithfulness in this very task for many years. Its message is already being heard in many parts of the world, and those whom it brings to the Torah have become members of the Hebraic community.” Referring to such a center as the building of the Gate to Zion, he stated “Israel awaits UIWU in action!”

On October 7 in Baghdad, a group of Baath Party gunman try to assassinate, but only wound, Iraq’s ruler, General Abed al-Karim Qasim. One of the gunmen, 22-year-old Saddam Hussein, is forced into hiding.

October brought another surprising international story.

The heir to the ancient Irish Throne, H. R. H. Raymond Moulton Nathan Seaghan Donogh VI, of the House of O’Brien of Thomond, officially identified himself with Israel and Jewry on the strength of his family genealogy that traces his line to ancient Israel. Both Donogh VI, his wife Sarah Loreta Santos, as also their two children, Prince Turlogh and Princess Grania, consider themselves Israelites in the full sense of the term. They announced they would be seeking affiliation with an established Hebraic Temple of worship.

Having been informed of United Israel World Union, Donogh VI- himself a 33 degree Mason-immediately contacted UIWU and submitted official documents (duly notarized by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Magistrate Benjamin Shaw, P. C., a past President of the United Hebrew Congregation of Dublin), testifying to the true genealogy of the Royal and Imperial House of O’Brien of Thomond. The principality of Thomond, (which includes Shannon) at the time had a population of over 90,000, most of which were Roman Catholic.

David Horowitz described the revelation as “living proof of Ireland’s Hebraic ancestry.”

In December, United Israel also played a major role in hosting an important and influential foreign guest. Outstanding leaders within the three branches of the American Jewish Rabbinical world joined hands with United Israel World Union in organizing a reception committee to greet the arrival of the noted Japanese convert to Judaism, Professor Abram Setsuzau Kotsuji, a descendant of Shinto priests. Professor Kotsuji, 60 years of age and acknowledged as Japan’s top Hebraist and author of a Hebrew grammar, was the former tutor of Emperor Hirohito’s brother, Prince Mikasa.

RabbiKotsuji
Rabbi Setsuzo Kotsuji, 2nd from left, with other Rabbis, in Japan

A special reception was held for Professor Kotsuji at the Plaza Hotel. Among those who honored the newcomer in Israel’s ranks were officials of UIWU, the Jewish Information Society, officials of the Histadruth Ivrit and some of New York’s outstanding Rabbis and business leaders.

In his address, Professor Kotsuji related the story of his early life as a boy in Japan and how he had turned to the Jewish peoples and Judaism. He told of later being interrogated by Nazi-inspired Japanese army officers for befriending the Jews, and in the face of death, his miraculous escape to safety through an incident he felt was the providential hand of God in his life.

Prior to his arrival in America, Professor Kotsuji was in Israel where he delivered several lectures and was officially brought into the Abrahamic covenant in Jerusalem in the presence of Rabbis and Israeli officials.

Fittingly, Dr. Rene Shapshak also designed the new emblem for the Institute of Hebrew Culture that Professor Kotsuji had established in Japan. Dr. Shapshak presented the new design to Mr. Kotsuji on behalf of UIWU before his return home.

In 1959, the United States added their last two states. The territories of Alaska and Hawaii were ratified as the 49th and 50th states respectively.

The decade of the 50s had drawn to a close. By its end, the world had largely recovered from World War II, but a new cold war between the rival super-powers of the Soviet Union and the United States had grown hot.

Like special chapters in a grand story, a new decade was about to be written.

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

This post is the thirteenth in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.

 

Remembering David Horowitz (12): Out of Africa

It was April 1958 and the celebrations and tributes marking the 10th Anniversary of the Republic of Israel and the 15th of United Israel World Union were in full swing.

On the world scene, General Charles de Gaulle becomes premier of France as a result of the Algerian crisis and is given special powers by the French Parliament. In a reply to Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s message of congratulations, the new premier stated: “I salute the courageous nation of Israel, with which France maintains solid ties of friendship and shares the same spiritual ideal.”

It’s worth mentioning that in the midst of hostilities toward the young nation of Israel, the Druze people who represent a religious minority reflect a most welcome and refreshing attitude of acceptance. Rooted in Ismailism, a branch of Shia Islam but whose social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, the Druze are Arabic speaking citizens of Israel who serve in both the Israeli Defense Forces and in politics.

In a new publication issued for the Druze community in Israel by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, a number of leading Druze hail the State of Israel and emphasize their loyalty to it. Sheikh Salih Adu Rukun, in discussing the duties of which a man owes towards his country and government writes: “We are duty bound to love our country, for there are strong ties between us and it. We were born and bred among a people which God has gathered in from all the corners of the earth into its promised land, and which has turned this holy land into a Garden of Eden, in fulfillment of the words of Isaiah: Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth. We are a branch of the Israel nation, and its ways have become ours.”

On May 11th (21 Iyar, 5718), Mrs. Bertha Chazan Horowitz, 84, wife of Cantor Aaron Horowitz, spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jacob, and mother of UIWU President David Horowitz passed away. She was taken into the bosom of the Eternal’s grace, fittingly, on Mother’s Day.

In a meeting with Ambassador Daniel A. Chapman, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UN, David Horowitz congratulated him on Ghana’s first anniversary of its independence. In March of 1957, Ghana became one of the first African nations to declare its independence from European colonization.

A number of years before Ghana became independent, hundreds of Gold Coast bible students became interested in United Israel World Union and in 1955 some of them, under the guidance of several schoolteachers, organized a unit of UIWU in the province. In subsequent years, Headmaster Immanuel Johnson Kumi of Presby Village School in Kwaboanta, himself a convert to the Hebrew faith, corresponded regularly with David Horowitz. Photos and reports about unit activities in Ghana have appeared in past UIWU bulletins.

Ghana maintains a close association with the State of Israel and there’s a story behind it.

Had it not been for an American black woman, Marguerite Cartwright, a roving correspondent for the Pittsburgh Courier, Israel today would never enjoy the close and friendly relations with the new, important West African state of Ghana. Both Marguerite and her husband, Leonard Carl Cartwright, played a vital role in the events that led to the Ghana-Israel relationship.

Bandung Conference Participants, 29 Countries representing over half the world's population
Bandung Conference Participants, 29 Countries representing over half the world’s population

It all happened in the year of the Bandung Conference. The Conference was the first large-scale meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on April 18-24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia. In a sobering way of looking at it, the 25 countries that participated at the conference represented nearly one-quarter of the earth’s land surface and a total population of 1.5 billion people.

En route to Bandung, Marguerite, a type of modern Queen of Sheba, visited what was then the Gold Coast and interviewed the leaders of the country, including Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah. Through many discussions, Marguerite convinced Nkrumah and his colleagues that, upon Ghana’s attainment of independence, Israel would be the most logical country to call upon for technical, cultural, maritime, civil and administrative assistance. She cited Israel’s enormous success in these areas during its short period of independence.

At first, Nkrumah appeared skeptical, being fully aware of the strained Arab-Israel relations, and seemed to dismiss the thought. The persistent Marguerite Cartwright, however, kept pressing the positive results that would accrue from relations with the Jewish State. Finally, Nkrumah agreed that he would be open to the idea.

Bandung1955

Fortified with this mandate, Marguerite attended the Bandung Conference and on her way back, stopped in Israel. There she conferred with Golda Meir, Moshe Sharett and others. Realizing the great importance and significance of Marguerite’s mission, the Israeli leaders lost no time in putting the Foreign Office machinery into motion. The results were hugely successful. Trade agreements were signed and an Israel-Ghana shipping line established, opening doors of trade and industry between the two countries. Both nations would benefit greatly from the mutual exchange of goods. Ghana would become the first African country to establish diplomatic relations with the nation of Israel.

Marguerite Cartwright would become the darling of the Israeli Foreign Office and one of the best friends that Kwame Nkrumah could have.

High summer had arrived and the Middle East was busy being the Middle East.

In July, Iraq’s pro-Western monarchy was overthrown. King Faisal II and Premier Nuri es-Said are murdered.

Fearing that his own regime would be next, Lebanon’s President Camille Chamoun appeals to the US, Britain and France for military aid. Following the invocation of the Eisenhower Doctrine the next day, the US would send 14,000 Marines to land on the coast of Lebanon to protect it from a United Arab Republic or Communist invasion.

King Hussein of Jordan then sought military aid from Britain to withstand United Arab Republic and Communist threats after the revolt in Iraq. British paratroopers landed in Jordan and would remain there until October 29.

In the midst of Israel’s 10th anniversary celebration, Premier David Ben Gurion, who held great interest in biblical research, opened his Jerusalem home to monthly bible study groups in which he himself was an active participant. The Prime Minister made it clear that this present generation of Jews was the last generation of bondage and servitude and the first in redemption, thereby bringing the Messianic ideal of deliverance from a long and wearisome journey. This vision of Jewish and universal redemption fostered a sense of spiritual closeness and bond to the sacred books of the Hebrew faith.

By now, the Eisenhower administration was convinced that challenging Egypt’s Nasser was counterproductive. In late 1958, it quietly abandoned the Eisenhower Doctrine and decided to seek an accommodation with Nasser. This decision was facilitated by an unexpected deterioration in relations between Nasser and the Soviet Union. The result was a modest US-Egyptian rapprochement lasting for the rest of Eisenhower’s term and into that of his successor.

Ghana and Israel maintained mutual ties, but later severed their relations in the wake of the Yom Kippur War. For the next four decades they maintained only basic ties through Nigeria. They would later restore full diplomatic relations, mutual economic growth and an abiding friendship.

Marguerite P. Cartwright, the sociologist and journalist who specialized in African affairs and whose early persistent efforts played such a key role in the Israel-Ghana relationship, lived in Manhattan. She became friends with another old journalist, David Horowitz. For more than three decades, her newspaper columns appeared regularly in “The Pittsburgh Courier” and “The New York Amsterdam News.” Surviving her husband by four years, she died in 1986 at the age of 76. They left no survivors.

In Sefwi Wiawso, located in southwest Ghana, there is a Jewish community who call themselves “The House of Israel” and claims to have roots in the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel. They built themselves a synagogue in 1998, a simple, rectangular concrete building and painted it a brilliant blue and white to match the Israeli flags that hang above the doorways. 

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

This post is the twelth in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.

 

Remembering David Horowitz (11): The Ides of April-Twin Anniversary Celebrations

Dateline: January 1957. Following the 1956 Suez Campaign, President Eisenhower launched an initiative that became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine to secure the Middle East against Soviet aggression by aiding any nation against overt armed aggression from any other nation controlled by international Communism. Congress adopted the doctrine in March.

Saudi Arabia’s King ibn Saud visits Washington at the invitation of Eisenhower, the first official visit of an Arab head of state. During Eisenhower’s eight years in the presidency, no Israeli is so honored.

In March, the Suez Canal reopens after clearance by the UN salvage crews of ship hulks sunk to block the entrance during the Suez crisis.

United Israel World Union began republishing the United Israel Bulletin in a new format in April. This edition, released during the Passover redemptive season, was the first published since the last printed magazine appeared in March 1952. During the interim, there were a number of UIWU newsletters published periodically. The first United Israel Bulletin was printed in Washington, DC in July 1944.

In the April bulletin, it was reported that movie stars Marilyn Monroe, Carol Baker and Elizabeth Taylor had all, at various times, embraced the Decalogue Faith of Moses following long periods of contemplation and study of the Hebrew Scriptures.

In July, David Horowitz was instrumental in creating the “United Nations Correspondents Fellowship,” to foster closer understanding and fellowship among the correspondents at the UN. The move was unanimously embraced by the association and lauded in written letters of endorsement by Ambassadors Abba Eban of Israel, Dr. Djalal Abdoh of Iran, Alberto F. Canas of Costa Rica and UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold himself.

BillyGraham1957In early August, Evangelist Dr. Billy Graham told David Horowitz in an exclusive interview, that God’s word with respect to Israel’s future boundaries as promised in the Bible-from the Euphrates to the Nile-cannot fail eventual fulfillment. Dr. Graham agreed that the return of the Jews to the Holy land marks one of the great turning points in the history of the world.

As 1957 drew to a close, it became apparent that the “Eisenhower Doctrine” was not a great success. Middle Eastern governments were generally eager to accept US aid under the new program, but Arab public opinion was hostile to the doctrine, seeing it as an effort to impose Cold War thinking on the Arabs by pressuring them to join an anti-Soviet alliance. Consequently, few Arab governments publicly endorsed the program.

It was announced in early 1958 that American Jewish Press correspondent at the UN, David Horowitz, had been elected to the Executive Committee of the Foreign Press Association during its recent meeting. Fitting recognition for the many contributions Horowitz was making to the association.

BenGurionTime1957The American Committee for Israel’s 10th  Anniversary announced that the inauguration of the celebration would take place on April 24 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the cradle of America’s independence and the home of the famous Liberty Bell containing the Old Testament inscription “Proclaim ye liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof.” Harry S. Truman, the first head of government to recognize the newly born state 10 years earlier and Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban were to be the featured speakers during the unique ceremony.

During a television interview with leading CBS newsman, Edward R. Murrow, former president Truman was asked: “You moved immediately to recognize Israel after it was created. Do you have any regrets about that?” With no hesitation, Truman replied: “Not the slightest…I know the history of that section of the world fairly well. There was the Balfour Declaration on the creation of the State of Israel. They hesitated and prolonged the situation. When it became my time to make the decision and there was a chance to create the State of Israel, as had been promised, I just carried out the agreements that had already been made. I’ve never been sorry for it, because I think it’s necessary that there be a State of Israel. It’s going to stay there no matter what they (the Arabs) think or what they do. Because the Israelites will take care of themselves as they always did in historic times.”

Israel’s 10th birthday was not the only significant event being celebrated in the month of April 1958.

United Israel World Union would also be observing the 15th anniversary of its existence.

Remarking that the great Hebrew prophets prophesied the rise of the Third Hebrew Commonwealth in a period of stress and trial among nations, David Horowitz drew a providential connection between the two events, saying: “despite the confusion among nations, two great rays of hope and fulfillment beam on the world horizon: Reborn Israel in two dispensations-United Israel World Union and the rising Hebrew Commonwealth on the ancient site.”

“Notables Hail United Israel World Union On Its Fifteenth Anniversary” announced the front-page headline of the April edition of the United Israel Bulletin. Leaders from all walks of life-among them professionals, rabbis, and laymen alike-joined hundreds of others in hailing the successful endeavors of United Israel on the occasion of its 15th anniversary.

Among the many rabbis who praised the constructive, Torah-reviving activities of UIWU were: Dr. W. Gunther Plaut of St. Paul’s Mt. Temple; Rabbi Arthur Meyerowitz, Scarsdale, N.Y., a member of the N.Y. Board of Rabbis, and Rabbi Samuel S. Lerer of Temple Sholem, Hollywood, California. Also, the world-renowned Lubavitch Rebbe, Menachem M. Schneerson, who sent a special Passover message along with his best wishes and blessings.

Especially meaningful to Horowitz, was a message from London from former Catholic Priest, Abraham Isaac Carmel, congratulating UIWU on its fifteenth birthday. Dr. Carmel, the first and only fully ordained Catholic priest to have adopted the Hebrew faith, hailed UIWU as a “heaven-sent” movement that has “created a new era in Jewish history.” In an open letter to UIWU, Dr. Carmel wrote: “As a proselyte to Orthodox Judaism, and the first Christian Priest to enter the Hebrew family, I write to offer my warmest congratulations on your 15th birthday. I personally owe a great debt to David Horowitz and his wonderful work. It was a heaven-sent revelation to me to learn of the amazing activity of David Horowitz and United Israel World Union.”

In still another open letter to UIWU, which was entitled “Time for rededication and to open the gates of Sinai,” Dr. Hirsch Loeb Gordon, world-renowned leader in the field of neuropsychiatry and research, offered the following remarks: “On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Republic of Israel and the 15th of United Israel World Union, we should all rededicate ourselves to the rebuilding of our ancient Fatherland and to the propagation of our ancient faith universally.” Dr. Gordon, a giant in his field, was the holder of six Doctorates and four Masters in several different fields, and had served in the Neuropsychiatric Consultants Division, Office of the Surgeon General and was the past National Commander of the American Palestine Jewish Legion of World War I.

In a stirring endorsement, Dr. Gordon had this to say about the work of United Israel World Union: “Your movement to send the Chariot of YHVH across the firmament of the pagan world to finish the mission begun at Sinai and crush the false idols is most inspiring.”

Perhaps Rabbi Samuel Lerer of Temple Beth Sholem expressed it best when he said: “I wish to convey my deep gratitude for your dedicated work in bringing the Judaic faith unto the nations of the earth. Your missionary work that brings pure monotheism and Torah-faith to mankind, which is now merely a trickling spring of clear water, will eventually develop into a great fountain that will break forth into many springs from which humanity will drink.”

Two fitting anniversary tributes; one to Israel reborn in their ancient prophetic homeland and the other to the emergence of an organization calling for a return to the Decalogue Faith of Moses for all mankind.

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

This post is the eleventh in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.

 

Remembering David Horowitz (10): Back to the Desert–War over Suez

The Suez crisis was a crucial turning point in world history. It marked Britain’s demise as the pre-eminent Western power in the Middle East and the assumption of that role by the United States-a role the US continues to play to this day.

Egyptian President Gamal Nasser began buying arms from the Soviets, unleashed the fedayeen (terrorists) on Israel, and had blockaded the Straits of Tiran. He continued to take actions that rankled the Eisenhower administration, threatening to turn to the Soviet Union for funding of the Aswan Dam project and to extend diplomatic recognition to Communist China.

In January 1956, David Horowitz learned that UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold would visit both Cairo and Tel Aviv in efforts to ease tensions in the region. He was scheduled to meet with both Nasser and Ben-Gurion. David made a personal written appeal to the Secretary-General. In his letter to Hammarskjold, David stated, in part: “Since your flight to Cairo and Tel Aviv has been announced as a good will visit, you are in an excellent position to drive home the points you wish to raise with both President Nasser and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion. They must meet if peace is to come in the Palestine Zone.”

UNSuez

David continued by suggesting: “When you see Nasser, you might mention that Egypt had played a vital role in Old Testament history as evidenced so wonderfully in the fascinating story of Joseph and his brethren who found refuge in Egypt under a kind and benevolent Pharaoh. For a period of 400 years the Hebrews lived and thrived with their cousins the Egyptians, until Providence ordained them to leave and become an independent nation under the leadership of Moses, whom Islam venerates as Nebi Musa.

When you see David Ben-Gurion, you might open the Bible and show him Isaiah chapter 19, verses 24-25, when prophecy of the future speaks of an Israel and an Egypt at peace and as constituting a blessing in the midst of the earth.”

Just before his departure to the Middle East, Hammarskjold expressed his thanks to David, remarking that he considered the counsel to be of great value and hoping that his own personal intervention might bring a measure of success.

Other attitudes were shifting politically. The new Socialist government of France, headed by Guy Mollet, had grown increasingly close to the new Israeli government, politically, diplomatically, and militarily. The alliance with France proved to be crucial for Israel in the years to come. The French became Israel’s primary source of arms for roughly a decade and provided the key elements that ultimately allowed Israel to develop a nuclear capability.

At the end of January, Former President Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and labor leader Walter Reuther issued a joint statement urging the US provision of defensive arms to Israel to help it protect itself from the introduction of Communist arms to Arab countries in the Middle East.

France immediately informed the US that Mystere jet fighters would be sent to Israel.

The US made it known it would not object to the sale of arms to Israel by France or Britain, but continued to defer action on Israel’s request for US arms.

On February 26, 1956, Cantor Aaron Horowitz, David Horowitz’s father, was hailed as the dean of American Cantors in an impressive tribute to his 60 years of service to Orthodox Judaism. The testimonial dinner event, sponsored by B’nai Jacob Synagogue, brought forth messages of tribute to Cantor Horowitz and his wife from regional, state and national personages.

Among the many tributes in messages were those of President Eisenhower, Governor George M. Leader and Herman Wouk, iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose works include “Caine Mutiny” and “Marjorie Morningstar.”

Mr. Wouk described the testimonial to Cantor Horowitz as a rare and splendid event. The author cited a traditional Hebrew concept that in each generation there are 36 unknowns whose spiritual ministrations enable the rest of the world to survive. Wouk concluded that Cantor Horowitz’s career might well place him in that category.

It was a most high tribute for Cantor Horowitz and a special time for a proud son.

In June 1956, Britain withdraws from Egypt, ending 74 years of military occupation and Golda Meir replaces Moshe Sharett as Foreign Minister in the Ben-Gurion government.

Following Britain’s withdrawal, Nasser responded by announcing that he was nationalizing the British-owned Suez Canal Company and would use toll revenues to finance the Aswan Dam Project. Britain regarded Nasser’s action as intolerable and began advocating a military intervention to reverse it. The US strongly opposed military action and pressed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

From Israel’s perspective, the continued blockade of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba, combined with the increased fedayeen attacks and buildup of Arab arms, made the situation intolerable. David Ben-Gurion decided to launch a pre-emptive strike with the backing of the British and French governments.

1956suezThe three nations subsequently agreed on a plan whereby Israel would land paratroopers near the Canal and send its armor across the Sinai Desert. The British and French would then call for both sides to withdraw from the Canal Zone, fully expecting the Egyptians to refuse. At that point, British and French troops would be deployed to “protect” the Canal.

On October 29, 1956, Israel attacked Egypt. Operation Kadesh began with a paratroop drop near the Mitla Pass, about 30 miles from the Suez Canal.

The US government received no prior notice of the British-French-Israeli plan. Eisenhower was infuriated and immediately sent a message to David Ben-Gurion urging the withdrawal of forces. Ben-Gurion ignores the request. The US seeks a UN Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal. Britain and France veto the US resolution and address a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel to withdraw from the Suez Canal area.

On October 31st, French and British warplanes destroy most of the Egyptian air force in raids on air bases near the Suez Canal. The Soviets inform Gamal Abdel Nasser they will not go to war over the Suez. Jordan and Syria reject his appeal for military support. He orders a withdrawal from Sinai to concentrate forces to repel the impending British and French invasion.

Given the pretext to continue fighting, the Israeli forces routed the Egyptians. The IDF armored corps swept across the desert, capturing virtually the entire Sinai by November 5th. That day, British and French paratroopers landed near Port Said and amphibious ships dropped commandos onshore. British troops captured Port Said and advanced to within 25 miles of Suez City before the British government agreed to a cease-fire.

Meanwhile back home, the Republican incumbent Dwight D. Eisenhower defeats challenger Adlai E. Stevenson for another term as US President in a rematch of their contest 4 years earlier.

Israel’s failure to inform the US of its intentions, combined with ignoring American entreaties not to go to war, sparked tensions between the countries. Pressuring Israel to withdraw included a threat to discontinue all US aid, impose UN sanctions, and expel Israel from the United Nations.

Additional pressure from the Soviets, the US and the UN would force Britain, France, and Israel to end their attack on Egypt. Nasser’s regime was saved.

By the end of the fighting, Israel held the Gaza Strip and had advanced as far as Sharm al-Sheikh along the Red Sea. A total of 231 Israeli soldiers died in the fighting.

US pressure resulted in an Israeli withdrawal from the areas it conquered without obtaining any concessions from the Egyptians. This would sow the seeds for a later war with Egypt in 1967. The only thing Israel would gain for giving up all the territories it had won would be the US assurance that its shipping lanes would be kept open.

On December 23, the last British and French troops leave the Suez Canal region.

Gamal Abdel Nasser’s prestige at home and among Arabs was undamaged. In fact, his greatest influence and popularity was just beginning.

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

This post is the tenth in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.

Remembering David Horowitz (9): The Gathering Storm

1954 began with an all too familiar sameness. A January issue of the New York Times reported King ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia urged the sacrifice of 10 million Arabs to “uproot the cancer” of Israel, while infiltration attacks inside Israel by Arab guerrillas continued on a frequent basis.

David Horowitz became involved in controversy when the editor of a small mid-western newspaper, James M. Watkins, accused David of advocating the conversion of Christians to Judaism. In the February 23, 1954 edition of “The Restitution Herald” of Oregon, Illinois, Mr. Watkins criticized David for being a Jewish missionary, along with the frivolous charge that he somehow had near complete control of Israeli news. Watkins charged that “Since Horowitz controls most of the press dispatches that go to the nation of Israel, as well as that which is sent out in this country, we can assume that he expressed the official viewpoint of the nation (Israel).” Talk about the power of the press.

Reacting to Watkins’ editorial, Karl Baehr, Executive Director of the American Christian Palestine Committee (a pro-Israel Christian group), in a letter that was printed in the March 30 edition of the “Restitution Herald,” tried to dissuade any anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish feelings among Watkins’ readers.

FootofPrideResponding to both Watkins and Baehr, David sent a reply to the “Restitution Herald” dated April 13, 1954. In the letter, David defended his views and his press dispatches. In reference to a specific passage, he remarked that the statement was not his, but that of “a Catholic, Malcolm Hay, author of the book The Foot of Pride (Beacon Press, Boston 1950). “A book,” Horowitz suggested, “that Watkins and every true Christian ought to read.” Hay’s book carefully chronicles the roots of Christian anti-Semitism.

  1. Middle East policy continued to focus on containing the Soviet Union. The Arab states often played the superpowers off against each other in an effort to win concessions from one or the other. One Arab ruler, however, stood in the middle of everything: the inter-Arab rivalries, opposition to Western imperialism, Eisenhower’s bid to create a regional alliance, and the perpetuation of the war with Israel. That man was Gamel Abdel Nasser. Over the next two decades, Nasser was to be an extremely forceful and charismatic advocate of radical Arab nationalism and of resistance to Western domination.

This was an especially busy and active time at the UN and Horowitz’s role as a journalist took on an intensive tempo. In addition to his many hours interviewing delegates and ambassadors from various other nations, he had considerable contact with Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban and new UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. He also interviewed France’s Pierre Mendes France during his visit to the world organization.

Hammerskjold

Horowitz, persistent as always, continued his campaign to get the Israel-Arab dispute settled by the utilization of the Bible and the Koran. During August 1954, he tried to convince Egypt’s chief UN delegate Major-General Abdel Hamid Ghaleb and received a most interesting and candid response.

Speaking to Horowitz, Ghaleb emphatically stated that he and all religious Egyptians believe in the Torah as much as in the Koran and they venerate Moses as one of the holiest men to have appeared on earth. He further told David “that if the people in the Middle East turned to the Torah and the Koran for guidance instead of accepting their own narrow views, peace could come to the region. Allah is the same God worshipped by Israel, and this one God certainly does not want them to quarrel and fight over questions which, in the final analysis, are disposed of by Him anyway.”

Ghaleb also revealed that Egyptian President General Mohammed Naguib (who appointed Ghaleb), during his premiership, often visited synagogues and was sincere in his desire to come to some understanding with Israel. But, as recent developments showed, his way was overruled. Undoubtedly having restrained his innermost feelings, he succeeded in escaping the fate that befell the late King Abdullah of Jordan whose mind was open for negotiations with Israel.

On September 28, 1954, Egypt seized the Israeli merchant vessel “Bat Galim” in the Suez Canal. The issue would be brought before the UN Security Council with the fiasco continuing into 1955 before a resolution would be reached.

In February 1955, Israeli Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon resigns following the uncovering of an Israeli intelligence network in Egypt. David Ben Gurion returns to government as Defense Minister.

In March 1955, David Horowitz made his fifth trip to Israel. His first visit took place in 1924 when Israeli pioneering was in its height. Subsequent trips were taken in 1932, 1951 and 1953. This time David would be holding high level meetings as a UN correspondent as well as conducting a little United Israel business.

David met with former Irgun leader Menachem Begin, who was a member of the Israeli Knesset in behalf of the second largest party, Herut. Mr. Begin expressed to David that the greatest threat facing Israel at the time was guerrilla warfare.

David also gained an audience with Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who had served in the Jewish Legion together with Ben-Gurion and was among the signers of the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. The Israeli President showed a deep interest in United Israel World Union and said he would extend an official welcome to any UIWU group. David later remarked “that President Ben-Zvi is a great scholar who has shown a profound interest in the fate that has befallen Israel’s tribes scattered all over the world.”

Countless hours were spent in interviews with other officials at Jerusalem’s UN headquarters.

Before leaving Israel, David visited some old friends, the Tritto family, now residing in Safed in the Galilee region. Esther, her husband Eliezer and family were among scores of other Italians, all former Catholics who had embraced the Hebrew faith, who came to Israel from the south Italian town of San Nicandro in 1949. He happily reported that they had established firm roots in Safed and were helping to build Israel.

As April 1955 came to a close, France was hit with Arab threats and protests for shipping arms to Israel. Jordan also threatened to boycott French goods and the Foreign Ministers of both Syria and Lebanon protested the French action. Egypt was asking that the Negev be detached from Israel. Just another busy day at the office of Middle Eastern affairs.

AbrahamicFaithIn June 1955, David became a charter member of “Judaism Universal,” a new international society for the propagation of the Hebrew faith as a world religion funded in New York City. Blessed and endorsed by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, “Judaism Universal” adopted the following three-point program: to reclaim the Jewish youth; to Judaize the Jews; and to draw within the sphere of Jewish life neglected Jewish communities in isolated parts of the world, including non-Jewish populations who hunger after universal truth and righteousness.

During a national election in Israel, David Ben-Gurion is again elected Prime Minister and Defense Minister. Moshe Sharett becomes Foreign Minister.

US officials continued to reach out to Gamel Nasser. Egypt was offered promises of arms and help in building the Aswan Dam. Nasser instead began to look to the Soviet Union. He began to import arms from the Soviet Bloc to build his arsenal for a confrontation with Israel. In the short-term, however, he employed a new tactic to prosecute Egypt’s war with Israel. He announced it on August 31, 1955: “Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam, and they will cleanse the land of Palestine.” These “heroes” were Arab terrorists, or fedayeen, trained and equipped by Egyptian Intelligence to engage in hostile action on the border and infiltrate Israel to commit acts of sabotage and murder.

The terrorist attacks violated the armistice agreement provision that prohibited the initiation of hostilities by paramilitary forces; nevertheless, it was Israel that was condemned by the UN Security Council for its counterattacks.

The escalation continued with the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran, Israel’s only supply route with Asia. Less than two weeks later, on October 25, Egypt signed a tripartite agreement with Syria and Jordan, which placed Nasser in command of all three armies.

As 1955 drew to a close, Gamel Nasser was making clear his intent. In an interview with New York Post reporter Paul Sann, he explained, carefully and quite clearly, “that Egypt would never, under any circumstances, consider peace with the Jewish State.”

Even as war clouds gathered over the Middle East, history would remind us once again: One should never say never.

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

This post is the ninth in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.

Remembering David Horowitz (8): When Israel Was a Child

1953 began with a new United States Presidential administration. With the transition from Truman to Eisenhower, the US began to distance itself from Israel. A new Middle East policy began to take shape that would influence American decision-makers for the remainder of the century. The greatest danger in the view of the new administration was the Soviet Union. US policy throughout the 1950s would be primarily shaped by the effort to contain communism.

Israelis were disappointed by the Arabs refusal to recognize its existence after the 1948 War of Independence. They were discouraged further by the policies of the new Eisenhower administration, which ranged from apathetic to seemingly hostile. Eisenhower thought that the previous administration had been excessively partial to Israel and he resolved to follow a more even-handed policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The foreign aid program for Israel that Truman had initiated after the 1948 war was quickly reduced. Aid was used as a lever to extract concessions. The Israelis were encouraged to make territorial concessions in exchange for peace with the Arabs. The new president also refused to sell arms to Israel and showed little tolerance for Israeli policies.

In fairness, it’s important we understand the forces at work in the shift of US policy. In addition to the growing cold war with the Soviets, Eisenhower faced a potent challenge in Arab nationalism. Two issues were considerable factors. First, there were the lingering vestiges of British and French imperialism in the Arab world. The fact that the US was formally allied with Britain and France aroused considerable popular resentment in the Arab world. Secondly, the issue was Zionism. The fact that the US had played a key role in the creation of Israel aroused even deeper Arab resentment.

RebuildingIsrael

The basic dilemma thus became another all too familiar political juggling act. The US had to keep the Arab states favorably disposed toward the West and keep the region’s oil reserves and strategic positions accessible, while at the same time, remaining committed to Israel’s survival and security, a position that caused deep resentment in the Arab world.

The new nation of Israel was a mere child, yet five years old, learning to live a new life of self-determination, while surrounded by a world of hostile forces committed to its destruction. Would it survive? Could it? What were the odds? If we could pause and tear a page from history that shows us a picture of the new five year old, what would the child look like? How was it behaving?

Fortunately, we have such a record today. As the US shifted its Middle Eastern policy, we are allowed a look back at the old family photo.

David Horowitz, serving as a Special Correspondent for “The Voice,” a Los Angeles publication with the largest Jewish circulation in the West, had returned from an extended stay in Israel and offered a full report of his findings in the June 12, 1953 issue of the publication. The following is David’s assessment of the new nation in his own words.

ImmigrationIsrael1950s

JERUSALEM-“My three month visit to Israel, having afforded me the opportunity to traverse the country and study carefully almost every phase of life here, has left me with the following impressions:

  • Israel as a whole is the most dynamic and promising little country in the world. The sturdy, energetic Israelis are creating a Commonwealth along this Mediterranean crescent which, judging by the present intensive activities, has all the signs of becoming a second little “America.” Settlements dotting the nation are expanding and thriving at a pace unequalled in history. Possibilities here are as great as they were in the early days of colonization in America. The wise and the foresighted are putting a stake in this land and now is the time of opportunity. Four or five years hence might be too late in order to get in on the ground floor.
  • Opportunities for foreign investors in nearly every field of endeavor are greater now than ever. The Mapai-General Zionist Coalition, opening a new trend, has enhanced the situation. Former restrictions placed on private enterprises have been relaxed. The political trend is tending more and more towards the center, away from Mapai-Mapam influences (note: Mapai was the largest left wing political party, General Zionists the centrists political party and Mapam, a left wing labor party with Marxist ideology). My survey has shown that more than 30 percent of the population is independent of Party affiliation. Also, many within the Mapai-Mapam Parties find themselves favorably disposed to the new trend. Here lies a great power for the future, a power that may well prove decisive during the next elections.
  • Despite the present economic difficulties, and they are many, no nation in history has doubled its population in so short a time. With population growth from 650,000 to 1,450,000, the State is moving ahead uninterruptedly with numerous national projects. These include roadways, waterways improvements and port developments. Most important, Israel’s military strength has more than tripled since the War of Independence. The leading cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tiberius, Beersheba, Ashkenlon, Rishon, Petah Tikvah, Ramleh, Afuleh and Acre, have all embarked upon large-scale municipal programs which will make these vital centers equal major tourist attractions.
  • Israel is the most music and art-loving country in the world, even surpassing Italy. The strains of the great masters are heard daily from almost every house with the new songs of Zion as happy interludes. There is singing in the streets and dancing during festivals and holidays. The Sabbath in Israel is truly Sabbath. Shops and factories close early Friday afternoon and some two hours before sundown the streets become deserted. Thus universal acceptance of the Sabbath by all Israelis is remarkable. The seventh day rest transcends affiliations. It is a holy day of peace and relaxation for all. While it’s true that only a minority goes to the synagogue, the majority rejoices in the delights of the Sabbath under the canopy of the clear skies, enjoying the seas, lakes and rivers and the many glories this land has to offer. Saturday is indeed Sabbath.
  • As for the Arabs remaining in Israel, their lot has never been better. A buyer of tobacco took me to several Arab villages recently. With us, went an official of the company buying the rich tobacco leaves. He carried a briefcase containing 10,000 Israeli pounds. After the tobacco bales were weighed, the Arab growers were paid on the spot. The inspector revealed to me that during the Mandate days, the Arabs often had to wait up to a year until payment was made, and they themselves had to go into the city from their villages begging payment, thus losing valuable time that could be spent working their plantations. In one of these villages I was invited into the home of an Arab member of the Knesset. A flagpole over this home flew the blue and white flag of Israel. For the Arabs living in this village, this emblem meant something new and good. For they are their own witnesses to the fact that since this flag has flown over their village, their conditions have improved a hundredfold. This was evidenced by the joyful and happy expressions of their children who did not appear any different from the Israeli children of their neighbors.”

StalinDeadMeanwhile, on the world scene, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin dies, the UN and North Korea sign a truce agreement ending the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and King Hussein bin Talal assumes the throne in Jordan. Grandson of King Abdullah bin Hussein who was assassinated in 1951, King Hussein’s rule would extend throughout the cold war and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict.

At the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish diplomat and economist, was elected the new Secretary-General of the UN after Trygve Lie’s resignation. David Horowitz and Dag Hammarskjold were both Swedes. They became good friends and the fact that they shared the same birthplace gave them great chemistry. Their friendship and respectful working relationship would continue until Hammarskjold’s tragic death in 1961. David’s shock and subsequent action will be the subject of a future installment.

An exhausted Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced his intention to withdraw from government and was replaced by Moshe Sharett, who was elected the second Prime Minister of Israel in January 1954. Ben-Gurion would later return to government in 1955 and soon be re-elected as Prime Minister.

In an article written by Adam Garfinkle entitled “The Triangle connecting the U. S., Israel, and American Jewry may be coming apart” and published in Tablet Magazine on November 5, 2013, Garfinkle reported: ”For President Harry Truman, the Jews of America stood for the Jewish people in history as mediated through the prism of Anglo-American Protestantism. Truman actually cried when Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog told him, during his White House visit on May 11, 1949, what he as President had done, in broad meta-historical terms, for the Jewish people. In a private meeting after Truman left the White House, he replied to the thanks offered by the head of the Jewish Theological Seminary by answering his host, “What do you mean helped create Israel, I am Cyrus; I am Cyrus!”

For the young child Israel, a new era had begun.

And a long, long exile had ended.

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

 

 

This post is the eighth in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.

Happy Birthday David Horowitz!

Happy Birthday to the late David Horowitz (Z”L) on this New Year’s Day!

זיכרונה לברכה –May His Memory Be for a Blessing to all!

a DH Passport

David Horowtiz would have been 113 years old today. He was born in Malmö, Sweden on April 9, 1903, He was one of eight children of Cantor Aaron Horowitz and Bertha Horowitz. The family immigrated to the United States in 1914.

 

You may download the full bibliography here: David Horowitz: A Life Remembered. You may also access a moving tribute to Horowitz by his fellow UN correspondent Vanni Cappelli here and the New York Times obituary here as well as the ongoing series of posts by UIWU Vice President Ralph Buntyn, “Remembering David Horowtiz.

Happy New Year!–At Least on the Hebrew Calendar

Today brings the New Moon or a new month on the Jewish calendar. But it is not  just any new moon. According to the Torah, “This month (literally “new”) shall be to you head of the months…Exodus 12.

Today is the beginning of Nisan or Aviv, the biblical name of this new moon/month. It is literally the day of “New Sheaves,” or as we would say in the Northern Hemisphere–the budding of Spring!

Barley 2013

 

Most people think of the Jewish festival of “Rosh HaShanah,” which comes in the Fall of the year 10 days before Yom Kippur, as the “Jewish New Year.”  In biblical times such was not the case. The New Year fell in the Spring, most often the New Moon closest to the Vernal Equinox, on the 1st day of the 1st month on the Jewish Calendar. This was the beginning of the “Sacred” year, whereas “Rosh HaShanah” was more of a “civil” year, much like our fiscal year markers–having to do with certain economic and governmental cycles.

The term “first day of the first month” in the Hebrew Bible, marking the”New Year,” signals a new beginning, or renewal of life. Thus in Exodus 12:1 Moses tells the Israelites that this day will be the beginning of the “months” for them–leading up to the Passover that falls in the first month.  It is also called the turning of the year, and has to do with the sprouting of the barely, and with what we call “Spring”–at least in the northern hemisphere!

According to the Torah Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 (Gen 17:17).  A year earlier, when Abraham was 99, we have an important set of references to what was ahead.  Three “men” appeared to Abraham, one of whom is subsequently revealed to be an “epiphany” of Yahweh. The Yahweh figure tells Abraham explicitly twice:

I will certainly return to you when the season comes around, and lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son (Gen 18:10).

Is anything too hard for Yahweh?  At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes around, and Sarah shall have a son (Gen 18:14).

BirthIsaac

Two precise Hebrew expressions are used here, lending strong emphasis to the precise timing of the birth of Isaac.  There is great meaning in all this.  The first phrase, “when the season comes around,” is literally, “at the time (or season) of life.”  It is a reference to the new year in the Spring, in the month of Abib or Nisan (see Exodus 12:2).  It is worth noting that in the traditional reading of the Torah portions this section is paired with a reading from the Prophets, from 2 Kings 4.  There we read of another extraordinary birth, that of the son of the Shunammite woman during the time of Elisha (2 Kings 4:16).  Truly this month of Nisan is a month of miracles and “new birth” as we shall see.  The second phrase, “at the set time,” stresses the exactitude of the timing of this important event.  It will come at a precise time or season.  These are not merely superfluous passing references.  Three chapters later we read:

And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him (Gen 21:2).

What we learn here is that Isaac was born in the Spring of the year, likely in the month of Nisan, at a “set time.” In the book of Exodus we read of another “Spring” birth–this time the birth of the nation of Israel. Whether the author intended to link the two ideas or not is difficult to say:

Israel is My son, My first-born,
and I have said unto you: Let My son go (Exodus 4:22).

When Israel was a child I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son (Hosea 11:1).

Exodus 12:40-41 explicitly states that this “birth” of a nation taking place at this precise time:

Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.  And it came to pass, at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the very day [i.e., Passover], it came to pass that all the host of Yahweh went out from the land of Egypt.

The reference to the very day is to the 15th of Nisan, the evening of the Passover Seder.  But what about this intriguing reference to 430 years?  Scholars have disputed over the meaning of this chronological note.  It should be noted that the verse, when properly translated, does not say that Israel was in the land of Egypt for 430 years, but rather the that the time of their “sojourning” was 430 years.  What event happened, 430 years earlier, “to the day,” from Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, based on the chronological records now preserved in the traditional Hebrew “Masoretic” text.

Some have suggested plotting this 430 year period of “sojourn” with the Call of Abraham in Genesis 12.  Others have counted the 430 years from the circumcision covenant with Abraham, when he was 99 years old (Gen 17).  Still others have begun the 430 years with the birth of Isaac in Genesis 21.  The Rabbinic source Seder ‘Olam preserves a traditional solution to this question.

In Genesis 23:4 Abraham tells the children of Heth, from whom he purchases the burial cave of Machpelah in Kiriatharba or Hebron, “I am a stranger and a sojourner” with you.   Abraham refers to himself as a ger (stranger) and a toshav (sojourner), even though the Land of Canaan had been promised to him. Abraham never received the Land of Promise in his lifetime; he remained a “sojourner” until the day of his death.  The same is true for Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and their 70 descendants who went down to Egypt.  The question is, precisely when did this “sojourning” of the people of Israel begin?  According to Seder ‘Olam it begins not in Genesis 12, with the Call of Abram to leave his father Terah’s house in Haran, but five years earlier, when he left the city of Ur in Babylon.  Note carefully, when Abram leaves Haran he is 75 years old (Gen 12:4).  But according to Genesis 11:31 “they went forth . . . from Ur of the Chaldees” some years earlier.  This is the actual beginning of their wandering or sojourning.  There is a significant reference in this regard in Genesis 15:7:

And He said to him: “I am Yahweh that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.”

One might have expected, on the basis of Genesis 12:1-3, for the text to read “who brought you out of your father’s house,” i.e., from Haran.  But in the Genesis tradition, picked up on by the Rabbis, the initial “Call” of Abram was out of Ur in Babylon, not from Haran in the land of Canaan.  In other words, the wandering, or “sojourning” of Abram begins before his call from Haran at age 75.  Also, the Hebrew word here is crucial.  The phrase here translated “brought you out” is from the verb yatz’ah, the same word used in Exodus 20:2 introducing the Ten Words at Mt Sinai:

I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

That would mean that according to the Masoretic chronology Abram left Ur, which was his own personal “Exodus” from idolatry and paganism, on the very same night, Nisan 15th, which later becomes the Passover.

The precise chronology of the Masoretic Hebrew text confirms this.  Note the following references and numbers (the years are given as AM, “after Man (i.e., Adam),” which correspond to the traditional numbering of Jewish years since Creation):

Abram leaves Ur    Abram 70    Year    2018 AM (Gen 11:31)

Abram leaves Haran    Abram 75    Year 2023 AM     (Gen 12:4)

Birth of Isaac    Abram 100    Year 2048 AM    (Gen 17:17)

Birth of Jacob    Isaac 60    Year 2108 AM (Gen 25:20)

Israel to Egypt    Jacob 130    Year 2238 AM (Gen 47:9)

Exodus    210 yrs later    Year 2448 AM (Ex 12:40)

The total years from Abram leaving Haran at age 75 (2023 AM) until Jacob going down to Egypt (2238 AM) are 215.  To this we add the 210 years of Egyptian slavery for a total of 425 years: from Abram leaving Haran, until the Exodus in the year 2448 AM.  Since Exodus 12:40-41 designates 430 years rather than 425 the conclusion becomes obvious. The five additional years are by default the time Abram spent in Haran.  Accordingly, he must have left Ur at age 70.  Thus, the total years of “sojourning of the children of Israel,” is precisely 430 years, from the Abram’s “going out from Ur” at age 70 (2018 AM), until Israel’s “going out of Egypt” in the year 2448 AM.

One important additional note here.  Why would Exodus 12:40 speak of the sojourn of the “children of Israel” as 430 years when this period begins with Abram?  According to the rabbis Abram stands for the whole people.  The term “Israel” is both a name and a title which includes Abraham and his entire line through Isaac and Jacob.  The Covenant with the Jewish people begins with Abraham.  The Rabbis love to play with letters and point out that the name ISRAEL in Hebrew is spelled Yod, Shin, Resh, Alef, Lamed.  These five Hebrews letters are the first letters of the names of the Patriarchs and their wives, namely Yod=Yitzak (Isaac) and Yaakov (Jacob); Shin=Sarah; Resh=Rebecca and Rachel; Lamed=Leah!

Isaac is born at a “set time,” when the “season of life” comes around.  We have already seen that this is a reference to the beginning of Spring, or the month of Nisan.  In Jewish tradition Isaac, as a miraculous child of promise, was born on Nisan 15th or Passover.  In fact Genesis hints at the festivals and holy days of Israel, later set forth in the Torah, as known in various ways in much earlier times (Gen 1:14; 8:13).  For example, there is a reference to Lot preparing “unleavened bread” or matzos, for the heavenly guests prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:3)!  Why matzos?  In the previous chapter Abraham has been told that Isaac will be born “at this season next year” (18:14).  So, in the text of Genesis we know we are in the time of Nisan, when Abram is 99, a year before Isaac’s birth.  Does Genesis imply that God rescued and removed Lot and his family from Sodom around, or even on, the very night of Passover? The text contains several Passover motifs.  The angels keep urging Lot and his family to leave, to hurry, and not to delay.  In a similar way the Israelites make haste to leave Egypt, not even allowing their bread to rise.

Remembering David Horowitz (7): Twin Flames of Freedom–An Eternal Bond

Building off the previous year’s success and momentum, United Israel World Union continued to expand.

Newlywed President David Horowitz sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion regarding the establishment of colonies in Israel.

UIWU also announced the formation in Greater New York City of a Young Men’s and Young Women’s Anti-Discrimination Auxiliary under the name B’nai Sinai. It was a program designed to unify and strengthen the ranks of an Israeli youth of a new age, one born out of the Hitlerian holocaust. It would offer renewed hope and faith in the eternal ideals of their heritage born at Sinai. Response and growth was widespread among the young men and women of the Empire City and the organization would soon have its own officers and committee heads.

On April 22, 1951, UIWU held it’s eighth Annual Meeting and announced plans for the building of the organization’s second Hebrew Altar to serve a growing congregation in West Virginia. The dedication was scheduled to take place in the town of Wilbur during the Feast of Tabernacles in October.

The Korean War had intensified. China had intervened and two hundred thousand Chinese troops had entered North Korea. On April 11, US President Harry Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his Far Eastern command.

May 1951 marked a new chapter in American Zionism and David Horowitz would witness firsthand many of the new developments.

Israel and the United States: An Eternal Bond
Israel and the United States: An Eternal Bond

The Zionist Organization of America’s Salute to Israel Rally was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden on the evening of May 13-commemorating the Third Anniversary of the State of Israel. The pageant entitled “Twin Flames of Freedom” was presented at the rally before over 20,000 spectators. The marvelous pageant-conceived by Israeli Ben Aronim and produced by Isaac Van Grove-linked the destinies of the oldest and youngest world democracies. It drew a sharp parallel in the struggle of the United States and Israel to achieve independence. The very nature of this unique pageant symbolized the link that would bind the two democracies into a bond of eternal friendship involving ongoing cooperation and co-ordination of action and activities.

The celebration continued as two warships of the Israeli Navy arrived in New York harbor on a goodwill tour of American ports. It marked the first visit of any unit of Israel’s armed forces. Representing the world’s youngest navy, the warships (frigates) named “Misgav” (Secure Haven) and “Haganah” (Defense) were veterans of Israel’s War of Independence. Members of the crew were from over 30 different countries. Many bore the brand of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps and had personal, dramatic stories to share of survival and migration to Israel. Mrs. Nan Reilly, new UIWU associate editor and David’s new wife, interviewed Israeli sailors during the warship’s NY visit for United Israel World Union.

Israeli PM David Ben Gurion on his NY Visit
Israeli PM David Ben Gurion on his NY Visit

An announced Israeli bond drive of one half billion dollars opened in the US. Following an extensive tour of leading American cities on behalf of the bond issue drive, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion left New York on the afternoon of May 31st aboard the Queen Mary. At Paris, he would board an El Al Israeli National plane for the return trip to Israel. On the eve of his departure, Mr. Ben Gurion made the following statement at a meeting with the representatives of the press: “I am returning to Israel profoundly moved by the warmth and cordiality of the reception which Mrs. Ben Gurion and I have experienced on all sides during our stay in this country. In Washington, I twice had the opportunity of meeting with President Truman and of learning firsthand of his deep personal interest in the welfare and development of Israel.”

David Horowitz personally met and interviewed several members of Hollywood’s leading personalities appearing in NY for the festivities. Peter Hanson, Joan Taylor and Nancy Hale were among Paramount’s Golden Circle who spent time with David at a luncheon held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on May 15th.

Israel and the United States-it was a golden celebration.

On July 20, 1951, King Abdullah Ibn Hussein of Jordan is assassinated as he leaves the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. His murder is attributed to his willingness to negotiate with Israel. David Horowitz, who had carried on a written dialogue with the King in the mid 1940’s, was deeply saddened. For a full account of this significant dialogue see the 2nd in this series “Remembering David Horowitz: Dialogue with a King.”

In late August 1951, David was back in Israel. He was fortunate to have arranged a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. The occasion of the visit marked the presentation to the State of Israel of United Israel’s first symbolic flag at the behest of the West Olive unit in Michigan. The Premier accepted the flag enthusiastically and would later convey his appreciation. Dated August 29, 1951, the Prime Minister wrote: “Your kind letter of August 20th was conveyed to me by Mr. David Horowitz. I was deeply moved by its contents and by your fine gesture in sending us your symbolic flag. I have told my colleagues in the Government of Israel of your letter and of your gift. The flag I will hand over to the State of Israel and, in accordance with your wishes, it will be kept in Jerusalem, the Holy City, the capital of our State.”

On October 14, 1951, the second UIWU Altar was dedicated at Wilbur, West Virginia. The Clarksburg Telegram of October 15 carried a full report of the dedication in a front-page story.

Yasser Arafat of the Husseini clan begins organizing Palestinian radicals in Cairo and recruits Abu Iyad, Abu Jihad, and other future leaders of the PLO.

Magazine style United Israel Bulletin published from 1944-1952
Magazine style United Israel Bulletin published from 1944-1952

In early 1952, UIWU began experiencing financial difficulties and announced they were no longer able to have the United Israel Bulletin published. It was replaced by a number of “Personal Letters” consisting of several legal sized pages with a bulletin-like format. The last magazine style bulletin appeared in March 1952. It was not until April 1957 that the bulletin reappeared, this time in a tabloid form.

In Personal Letter #5 of July 1952, David reported that he has a new column entitled “Behind the Scenes at the United Nations” which the Western Jewish News of Winnipeg, Canada, had assigned to him to write for the publication. A leading magazine in Bombay, India and the “Jewish Herald” in Johannesburg, South Africa soon picked up the column as a regular feature. In the first few columns, David referred to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s participation at the UN in connection with her deep understanding of Israel. Upon reading the columns, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote David a nice note of appreciation.

During July 1952, King Farouk of Egypt is dethroned by a bloodless coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat and others. Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, in a Knesset speech, extends the “hand of friendship” to the new Egyptian regime and privately offers economic and political assistance, which Egypt responds to favorably. Private conversations would continue until December 1954.

Returning from a trip to Spokane, Washington in October, David stopped over in Kansas City, Missouri and had a long visit with one of President Truman’s closest friends, Eddie Jacobson. Jacobson and Truman were once business partners and were also buddies during World War I. It was felt that Jacobson also had influenced Truman on the matter of the recognition of the State of Israel. David later received a letter from Jacobson telling him that he had finished reading David’s autobiography “33 Candles” and that he planned to visit David at the UN in November.

On November 9, 1952, the first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, died while in office. In a little known fact, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion offered Albert Einstein the position of President. Einstein declined the honor, saying he was “deeply moved by the offer, but didn’t consider himself suited for the position.” Yitzhak Ben-Zvi would succeed Chaim Weizmann as president. The office of the President of Israel is a largely ceremonial position with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister.

In the November 1952 Presidential election, former five-star general and Columbia University President, Dwight David Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson, becoming the 34th President of the United States.

Under the new US administration, Israel would soon learn just how much they missed President Harry Truman.

Bio PictureRalph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.

 

 

 

This post is the seventh in the series “Remembering David Horowitz.” For the complete archive see here.