As 1986 arrived eighty-two year old David Horowitz wasn’t about to slow down. In the first quarter of the New Year he delivered five weekly lectures at the Herzl Institute of New York on the “Behind the Scenes” activities at the UN.
Horowitz’ new book about the late Pastor Charles Taze Russell, the early Christian Zionist, was also receiving widespread attention. The book was the topic of two half-hour radio programs in the New York area. Mr. Horowitz also appeared on the “Richard Roffman & Friends” Cable WNWC Television Show.
In an interesting note of timing, the release of the Horowitz book also marked the 100th anniversary of the publication of Pastor Russell’s first comprehensive biblical exposition under the title “The Divine Plan of the Ages.” It constituted the initial work of six volumes. During the past 100 years some 10 million copies of “The Divine Plan” have been distributed around the world.
Early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, Herbert W. Armstrong, died on January 16th of the New Year at the age of 93. Armstrong founded the Radio Church of God in 1933 (later renamed Worldwide Church of God) as well as starting Ambassador College in 1947.
On another somber note, renowned sculptor Rene Shapshak, veteran United Israel World Union member, passed away on April 8, 1986. A large gathering of family and friends attended special services held at the Gramercy Park Chapel in New York. Rabbi Irving J. Block, spiritual leader of The Brotherhood Synagogue and a long-time friend of United Israel, lead the services with an inspirational eulogy. David Horowitz also spoke at the service.
Eddie Abrahams, long time vice president of United Israel and a founder of the famous International Synagogue Chapel at JFK Airport, to which he had donated an oriental Torah Scroll, was honored at the 11th Annual Breakfast Forum on May 18th. The guest speaker was Malcolm Hoenlein, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Amid the flurry of activities, The United Israel organization held its 43rd Annual Meeting at the home of its president on May 18, 1986. Among the newcomers present at the meeting were Lowell Gallin, visiting from Israel, where he directs the “Root and Branch Association” and local author Raymond Solomon.
On April 5, 1986, a bomb exploded in a discotheque in Berlin frequented by U.S. service personnel. Of the 200 injured, 63 were American soldiers; one soldier and one civilian were killed. Citing “irrefutable proof” that Libya had directed the terrorist bombing, President Ronald Reagan authorized the use of force against the country. During the evening of April 15 and early morning of April 16, under the code name El Dorado Canyon, the U.S. launched a series of military strikes against ground targets inside Libya.
It was more than just a message to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his ability to export terrorism. Gaddafi’s residential compound took a direct hit that resulted in one death. The Colonel was not at home at the time.
Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar of Peru took the oath of office at the UN to begin a second term. As a lawyer and career diplomat with the foreign ministry of Peru, Mr. Cuellar had held several high-level posts at the UN before becoming Secretary-General in 1982. David Horowitz had a friendship and warm working relationship with Mr. Cuellar, who had read Horowitz’s autobiography “33 Candles” in 1983 and also knew the details of his personal exchanges with the late General Francisco Franco of Spain in 1964.
In October, it was announced that the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize would be awarded to Elie Wiesel, one of the world’s leading spokesmen on the Holocaust. The Jewish author, philosopher, and humanist made it his life’s work to bear witness to the genocide committed by the Nazis during World War II.
The young Elie’s nightmare began when after Hitler’s forces had moved into Hungary in 1944, the Wiesel family was deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland. Elie’s mother and younger sister perished in the gas chamber there. In 1945 Elie and his father were sent to Buchenwald, where his father died of starvation and dysentery. Seventeen-year-old Elie was still alive when the camp was liberated by the U.S. Third Army on April 11, 1945.
Elie Wiesel later became a writer, professor, and political activist. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including “Night,” a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee referred to Wiesel as a “messenger to mankind.” However, mankind would never have heard the Wiesel message except for a little known reason.
For ten years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about or discuss his experiences during the Holocaust. He began to reconsider after a meeting with the French author Francois Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature, who eventually became Wiesel’s close friend. Mauriac was a devout Christian who had been with the French Resistance during the war. He compared Wiesel to “Lazarus rising from the dead,” and saw from Wiesel’s tormented eyes, “the death of God in the soul of a child.” Mauriac persuaded him to begin writing about his harrowing experiences.
Elie Wiesel’s memoir “Night” sold over ten million copies in the United States and was eventually translated into 30 languages and now ranks as one of the bedrocks of Holocaust literature.
America’s leading lady celebrated her 100th birthday on the 28th of October.
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. The copper statue, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, was built by Gustave Eiffel, (yes that Eiffel) and dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France.
The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A chain and the broken shackles of oppression and tyranny lie at the feet of the statue.
Lady Liberty, the birthday girl, is more than a monument. She has become a universal symbol of freedom and democracy to millions around the world. After all, the actual name of the statue is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Statue of Liberty is only a nickname.
For many years, Israeli master photographer Isaac Berez provided United Israel World Union with professional photographs that enriched the pages of the United Israel Bulletins. He did so without charge and it was time to recognize this outstanding professional and his many contributions.
Born in the western Ukraine (a part of Poland at the time), Isaac grew up in an affluent family and was well on his way toward attaining a law degree when the invading German army interrupted it. Unable to unite with his family Isaac fled along with hundreds of students and professors to Tashkent (in the Soviet Union’s Central Asia) where a friendly Jewish family there helped him establish residence for educational purposes.
Isaac entered the local university. He could delay military service as a student while supporting himself with part time work at a factory. By 1944 he had his law degree which fate decreed he would never use.
Isaac returned to Poland to seek out the remnants of his family. Only his sister had survived who had been taken in and aided by a kindly Czech family. With the help of the Joint Emergency Committee for Jewish affairs he moved to Italy. Here he studied photography.
In 1946 attempting to enter Palestine, he was apprehended by the British and interned in Cyprus. By 1947, he was in Palestine, friendless, without knowledge of Hebrew, and penniless. Again he became embroiled in war, but this time it was for Israel’s independence. Soon, Isaac was speaking Hebrew and practicing photography.
Following his excellent work in Israel where he provided historic coverage of the late David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and other founders of the State, Berez came to the United States as the full-time photographer of the Israel Symphony Orchestra while also serving as a foreign correspondent for press photos for Israeli news outlets. Berez’ skills brought him to the attention of several major organizations that made him their exclusive photographer, including the Conference for Soviet Jewry and the Lubavitch World Zionist Organization.
Isaac Berez met journalist David Horowitz while covering events at the UN. They both shared a common personal odyssey of being immigrants and losing family members in the holocaust. Their friendship grew and over the course of many years, Isaac Berez contributed his superior photographic skills in support of United Israel World Union and its mission.
Ralph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.
This post is the forty first in the ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.”