Chaim Herzog, former UN ambassador for Israel and President of the Jewish state from 1983 to 1993, who was born and raised in Ireland, where his father was Chief Rabbi, was present at the birth of the state of Israel. He served in the British Army during the Second World War, and helped liberate the Nazi concentration camps, a profoundly moving experience for a Jewish officer. Afterwards he fought in Israel's war of independence. In the UN Herzog made eloquent speeches in defense of Israel at a time when his country was increasingly isolated. His presidency saw the beginning of the Intifada, the missions to rescue Ethiopia's Falasha Jews, and the opening up of the Soviet Union. In this extensive memoir Herzog offers his memories and reflections, including comments on the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
From Publishers Weekly
Herzog, twice president of Israel (1983-93), has written an exhilarating autobiography, at once a stirring personal and political testament to some of this century's major events. Born in Belfast in 1918 to a Latvian mother and a Polish father who was chief rabbi of Ireland, he moved with his family to Palestine in 1935 and at 16 joined the Haganah, the underground resistance led by David Ben-Gurion. Receiving his higher education in London, Herzog, then a young barrister, joined the British army as soon as Britain declared war on Hitler, and he was part of the first Allied formation to cross into Germany, where he subsequently witnessed the horrors of the newly liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He fought in Israel's war for independence, and as director of Israel's military intelligence molded it into one of the best organizations of its kind. As Israel's ambassador to the UN, he valiantly fought against the 1974 resolution sponsored by what he calls "those three great bulwarks of democracy," Cuba, Somalia and Benin, equating Zionism with racism (a resolution revoked by a large majority in 1991). As Israeli president Herzog maneuvered behind the scenes to forge a coalition government and helped shape Israel's response to growing unemployment and drug use, the intifada, the Gulf War and Iraqi Scud missile attacks. Sprinkled with his brutally candid assessments of Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, Moshe Dayan, Kurt Waldheim, Reagan, Arafat and others, his memoir ends on an optimistic note, envisaging a genuine Middle East peace that could facilitate joint Israel-Arab economic and technical cooperation. Photos.
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