Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Transitions

I'm in transit to the US, so I cannot do more than urge you to read Haaretz's many responses to yesterday's grotesque events, especially (as usual) its judicious editorial. I must also mark, too hastily, the death of Lova Eliav, whom I greatly admired, and to whom I owe many kindnesses. He was a man of rare qualities: the courage to stand alone and a fascinating sense of mission, but also a confident humility. Let's just say he was the kind of Zionist I had originally come for. I interviewed him back in 1975, after he founded a new peace party, and we got to talking. I told him, bluntly, and with a chuzpah that embarrasses me now (I was 26), that his party was saying all the right things, but that he himself did not have the charisma to lead it. Why, I asked, didn't he call, say, the Hebrew University's Shlomo Avineri, and try to nudge him into politics? He looked a little pained, but more bemused than insulted. The next time I saw him, he embraced me and said, as if updating a consultant, "I called Avineri but he wasn't interested." I count the twinkle an important piece of my political education.