Monday, April 25, 2005

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet

Ezer Weizman passed away. He was definitely an Israeli original.

Ezer Weizman, the rebellious nephew of the first Israeli President, Chaim Weizman, was one of those people with more charisma than he could handle. At times he charmed and insulted almost everyone. An unabashed "ladies' man," he got the feminists upset, because he was pretty clear about what he thought females were for. He was head of the Israeli Air Force and took full credit for the Israeli victory in the 1967, Six Days War, when Yitzchak Rabin was actually the Chief of Staff. He entered politics as part of the Israeli right wing with Menachem Begin but ended it on the left. It's believed that the wounding of his son, Shaul, caused him to change ideology. But I've always felt that he liked being the "rebel." That's why he changed sides when Likud was entrenched as the ruling political party in Israel.

I took a great picture of him and Begin striding together at the "civilianizing" ceremony of Moshav Argaman, in the Jordan Valley, spring, 1971. He was tall and handsome. He and Begin were definitely an "odd couple" to be working together, but it was Ezer Weitzman who took Begin's Herut party out of the fringe of Israeli politics.

He held many government positions, including President of Israel, which he had to resign due to financial scandal. A sorry exit for an extraordinary man. There will never be anyone like him.

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