A lasting impression

Though evasive of the media when he used to head the Mossad, Meir Dagan is certainly making up for it now.

Mier Dagan speaking_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mier Dagan speaking_521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
THOUGH EVASIVE of the media in the days when he used to head the Mossad, Meir Dagan is certainly making up for it now. Not only does he talk to the media, but he also mixes in circles where he can’t help but rub shoulders with the press. A case in point was last week when Dagan was one of the speakers at Beit Sokolow at a memorial ceremony for Dov Yudkovski, who was considered to be the guiding force of Israeli journalism, influencing hundreds of writers and editors at Yediot Aharonot and Ma’ariv.
Yudkovski, a Holocaust survivor who settled in Tel Aviv in 1945 and left an indelible imprint on Israeli journalism, died a year ago at age 87. He was editor of Yediot from 1983-86 and then was made managing editor in 1989. Following a dispute with Yediot owner Noni Moses, Yudkovski left and in 1991 was appointed editor of Ma’ariv, a post he held for two years.
■ WHEREAS AMERICAN youngsters seem to be au fait with their Declaration of Independence and its signatories, Israeli schoolchildren, living in a country whose history of independence is far more recent, don’t even know how many signatures there were, let alone the names of the signatories. Most will know or hazard a guess that David Ben-Gurion was one of them, but it’s highly doubtful that most Israeli youngsters would be able to name even three of the others, let alone the whole 37.
This week they were brought to greater public attention with the reenactment at the site of the signing ceremony in the presence of offspring of the signatories – sons or daughters in some cases but mainly grandchildren.
Not all the members of the National Council, which subsequently became the Provisional State Council, were present at the original signing ceremony. Jerusalem was under siege, and 11 of the members were unable to make the trip to Tel Aviv, and a 12th member was overseas, but space was left on the declaration for them to sign afterwards.
The 25 who did sign on May 14, 1948, were called up in Hebrew alphabetical order. But even people familiar with the names of the early leaders of the state might not recognize some of the names on the declaration because several of these people, at Ben-Gurion’s request, later Hebraized their names. Among them was Israel’s second prime minister, Moshe Sharett, whose name on the declaration appears as Moshe Shertok. He was the last of the 25 to sign.
The reenactment was organized by the Council for the Preservation of Heritage Sites. The event was held in conjunction with the launch of the book The Tenth Signatory, which is the story of Eliahu Dobkin. He was involved with illegal immigration and was a leading figure in the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. Among the many positions he held was the chairmanship of Keren Hayesod. An avid art collector, Dobkin was also chairman of Bezalel and later one of the founders of the Israel Museum.
Boaz Dekel, a grandson of Dobkin’s, was among those involved in organizing the reenactment, which fell approximately a month before Tu Bishvat when the Knesset celebrates its 63rd anniversary.
■ SOME PEOPLE retrace their roots by going back to their family’s country of origin. Others delve into genealogy and produce family trees. Still others preserve family recipes and regularly include delicacies from the old country in their menus. And others, like singer Rita, go back to the songs of their childhood.
When she recorded her Farsi disc Kol Hasmahot Sheli a little over a month ago, Rita never expected it to be a commercial success. It was simply an exercise in nostalgia that she thought might appeal to a few people of Iranian or Persian background. Its success was beyond her wildest dreams. Within a very short time, the public had snapped up 20,000 copies, which entitled her to a gold certificate. It was certainly not her first. She already has some half dozen gold records plus a few platinum ones, but this was a triumph that was never anticipated or even hoped for, so it gave the singer a greater thrill than some of her other successes.
■ AACI, THE Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, is organizing a conference on February 2 that will release the results of its recent survey of English-language libraries and collections across Israel. Over the past six months, more than 80 libraries and collections have been visited to assess the volume and variety of English-language books available to readers here. Project coordinator Sandra Shechory will report on the findings and their possible implications for the future.
The conference will be held at the AACI Jerusalem office, 37 Pierre Koenig Street, from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Prof. Elhanan Adler, senior consultant on libraries, information systems and processes. He will discuss “E-books, readers and libraries.” Afterwards, participants will break up into “circles of interest” to discuss various topics relevant to English libraries and collections in Israel.
Anyone wishing to participate should register by January 22 at the AACI Jerusalem office or by calling 566-1181. The cost for participation is NIS 50. The project was made possible by a grant from the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Foundation.