The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership

By Romirowsky, Asaf | Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership


Romirowsky, Asaf, Middle East Quarterly


The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership. By Yehuda Avner. New Milford, Conn, and Jerusalem: The Toby Press, LLC 1,2010. 715 pp. $29.95.

Former Israeli ambassador Avner offers a literaiy, distinctive, and colorful look into the inner sanctums of diplomacy and politics of the Jewish state. As speech writer and secretary to prime ministers Eshkol and Meir, adviser to prime ministers Rabin, Begin, and Peres, and ambassador to the court of St. James, Avner is uniquely positioned to bring to light the qualities and the temperaments of these leaders, so influential in laying the foundations of the state of Israel.

Most significantly, Avner shows through firsthand accounts that Israeli prime ministers on the left and the right worked diligently toward peace against seemingly insurmountable odds. His distinctive contribution is to disclose the brainstorming that took place behind closed doors before and after difficult decisions were made public.

The Prime Ministers illustrates how Israeli statesmen have dealt with and represented the Jewish state to the global community, highlighting the quandaries in which civil servants often find themselves. Israeli ambassadors to the United States, for example, are required to negotiate the political Beltway - as well as the American Jewish community at large - as representatives of the State of Israel, not as commanders or even policymakers. Yitzhak Rabin, for example, was revered as the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff and later the prime minister who dared to embark on the Oslo peace process. …

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