I just received an e-mail from an Israeli friend of my father’s informing me that Ezer Weizmann has passed away. The text of the e-mail is as follows:
You may already of heard; Ezer returned his soul to his Creator today. Israel TV is full of stories from his life as a soldier and a politician. I am sure there will be more over the next days. In my mind, the most important stations in his very full life were the establishment of the Israel Airforce, preparation of the airforce for the Six Day War and his role in the Camp David talks between Anwar Saadat and Menahem Begin. They say that without the very strong persuasive influence of Weizman and Dayan during those talks, Begin would have walked away from a peace treaty with Egypt. Those three items alone give Ezer Weizman a place as one of the most important founders of the State of Israel. They far overshadow mistakes he made as a politician, especially when serving as Begins Minister of Defense during the war in Lebanon that began in June, 1982.
As far as I know, they haven’t set a date for the funeral yet. I’ll let you know as soon as I do, although I have the feeling your grapevine is much more effective than the Israeli news media.
Ezer Weizman was a true legend in the history of the founding of Israel and it is with great pride that I can recount that my father served with him in Israel in 1948, and knew him well enough that his phone number is scrawled on a piece of paper hanging by a magnet on the fridge at my parent’s home in California.
It is fitting that this giant in the arena of Israeli politics, who was instrumental in helping to deliver the Jewish people out of the bondage of the Shoa and into a new home in Eretz Yisrael, was allowed to see one last Pesach before his return to the L-rd our G-d.
Alevasholem, Mr. Weizman.
Update: My father’s Israeli friend wanted to set the record straight regarding a point of Weizman’s career:
A correction to what I wrote you yesterday. Weizman had no part in the policies regarding the war in Lebanon. He had resigned from the government in 1980.