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In memoriam: Avraham Levin, legendary ‘Post’ advertising manager
By ARI RATH
31/12/2013
"The story of Avraham’s life, a sixth-generation Jerusalemite, is the story of Eretz Yisrael."
 
Avraham Levin’s career as The Jerusalem Post’s legendary advertising manager began in 1939, when he started working as a 14-yearold office boy at The Palestine Post, so that he could pay for his studies.

The story of Avraham’s life, a sixth-generation Jerusalemite, is the story of Eretz Yisrael.

His father, Shlomo Zalman Levin, had already worked at the paper’s printing press as an experienced typesetter, a profession Avraham’s three brothers had also chosen as their career. The Palestine Post had been founded only seven years earlier, in December 1932, by Gershon Agronsky and Ted Lurie. 1939 was also a dramatic year in the British Mandate of Palestine, since the British government under prime minister Chamberlain had just published the so-called “White Paper,” which drastically curtailed Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. Hitler’s invasion of Poland sparked World War Two, and the three-year-long battles between Arabs and Jews in Palestine had come to an end.

As the war went on, young Avraham joined the Jewish Settlement Police, that was equipped by the British and became an important segment of the Israel Defense Forces at their inception in May 1948. In February 1948, Avraham’s father was seriously wounded in a joint British-Arab terrorist car-bomb attack on the Post’s offices and printing press. In the battle for Jerusalem, Avraham was wounded in the fighting in Sheikh Jarrah, near Ammunition Hill. When the fighting ended with the Armistice Agreements in 1949, Avraham returned to the Post and began working as an assistant in the advertising department.

In April 1950, the paper changed its name to The Jerusalem Post. It was a critical time for the paper’s future, since it had lost thousands of its readers among the British officials and Arab intellectuals. For a small-circulation newspaper, by definition, advertising revenue was a mainstay for The Jerusalem Post’s survival. It was this vital niche that Avraham recognized and kept on developing over the years.

He succeeded in getting annual advertising contracts with leading banks and manufacturers. During his reign, we tried to maintain the rule that one third of the daily paper’s space should be kept for advertising.

With great pride, Avraham kept in his pocket over the years a personal, hand-written note from Gershon Agron, thanking him for a successful advertising campaign.

Avraham never really overcame his somewhat early retirement in 1989, when Conrad Black and David Radler bought the newspaper that was his life.

Born in Jerusalem on October 25, 1925, Avraham died on December 26, 2013. He is survived by two daughters, Tzippi and Tali, and a son, Ya’acov, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Avraham is buried on Har Hamenuhot in Jerusalem, next to his wife Ahuva.

The author was editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post from 1975 to 1989.
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