The Ambassador

Peretz, Martin
October 2003
New Republic;10/6/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 14, p38
The author remembers Simha Dinitz, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, who died in 2003. Simha Dinitz was the Israeli ambassador to the United States at what was probably the most precarious single moment in Israel's existence, which is saying something: the Yom Kippur War. Not just that Simha was almost always the person on the other end of Kissinger's phone during those terrible days in 1973, but that it was he who, by deftly mustering American political leadership in both parties to Israel's side, guaranteed the resupply of depleted weapons to the Jewish state. Golda Meir plucked Simha from the lower echelons of Israel's diplomatic service, appointing him Israel's fifth ambassador in Washington, where he succeeded Yitzhak Rabin. Simha was a stellar public spokesman, riveting in narrative, evocative in affect. He made friends for Israel as no ambassador has done since. In a way, he was one of Golda's achievements. Simha stayed on as Menachem Begin's ambassador to Washington, and--as historians tell us--helped to overcome his prime minister's congenital distrust of Arab intentions. Then he went home to Jerusalem, where he would ultimately head the Jewish Agency.


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