Netanyahu’s Woes: A Tale of Two Cities, London and Jerusalem

“We made a mistake in navigation,” admitted a chastened Amihai Chikli, the Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs — and called for a halt to the so-called “judicial reforms”. In the wake of airport closures, walkouts at universities, port stoppages, embassies and consulates shuttered until further notice, bank closures, a looming shut-down of the hi-tech industry … Read more

One Year after the Invasion

One year ago, the world awoke to the news that war had broken out in Europe after almost 80 years of relative peace. British Jews were stunned by this turn of events — especially those whose ancestors had escaped Tsarist persecution in Ukraine. For Putin, the fall of the USSR in 1991 — like the … Read more

Israel: A History in 100 Cartoons

A visit to the Israel Cartoon Museum in Holon several years ago first gave me the idea of telling Israel’s history through cartoons. It was undoubtedly the hardest of all my books to write. Which episode in a year to highlight; which cartoon to select, which events to record? Clearly there could have been an … Read more

On Bruno Kreisky

Kreisky, Israel and Jewish Identity by Daniel Ashheim Published by University of New Orleans Press, 2022, pp.225 Bruno Kreisky was the longest serving Chancellor of Austria (1970-1983). He was also a Jew who had fled to Sweden when Hitler annexed the country to the Third Reich. More than 20 family members perished in the Shoah, … Read more

The Origins of the Campaign for Soviet Jewry in the UK

One hundred years ago, on 30 December 1922, four republics, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia, agreed to form a union of states — the Soviet Union. This was to be ‘a decisive step on the path of unification into a World Socialist Soviet Republic’. The same year also saw the first trials of Zionists in … Read more

The New Israeli Government damages Jewish National Interests

Last Friday, the Likud signed an agreement with the Kahanist party, Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), to give it an expanded range of responsibilities in the new government, covering the Public Security Ministry, the Development Ministry for the Negev and Galilee and a Jewish Heritage Ministry. It is likely that Itamar Ben-Gvir will now run the … Read more

29 November 1947

When the result of the vote was announced, ‘a feeling that grips a man but once in his lifetime came upon us. High above us we seemed to hear the beating of the wings of history.’ So recalled David Horowitz, a member of the Jewish Agency delegation, on hearing the result of the historic vote … Read more

On Mikhail Gorbachev

In 1985, the year of Mikhail Gorbachev’s appointment as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1140 Jews were allowed to leave. Four years later — the year when the Berlin Wall fell — the number reached 71,000. Almost a million Soviet Jews emigrated to Israel in the following years. This was … Read more

The Night of the Murdered Jewish Poets

‘I am a Russian writer. Like all Russians, I am now defending my homeland. But the Nazis have reminded me of something else; my mother’s name was Hannah. I am a Jew. I say this proudly.’ So spoke the noted writer, Ilya Ehrenburg, at a Jewish rally in Moscow in August 1941 as the Nazi … Read more

A Riddle wrapped in a Mystery inside an Enigma

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called a meeting of ministerial colleagues and interested parties to discuss the threat from the Kremlin to close down the Jewish Agency for Israel in Russia – a body which facilitates the emigration of Jews from that country. Many were unsure whether the Kremlin’s move was merely intimidatory … Read more