In my latest newsletter (you can subscribe here—it's free!), I noted the death last week of Yehuda Avner, an adviser and English speechwriter to four Israeli prime ministers. I wrote,
"[Avner] was a legendary figure—an Israeli foreign service professional who was in the room with Israeli prime ministers for so many colorful meetings and crucial moments in Israeli history. There were a couple of engaging tributes to Avner in the Jerusalem Post, which you can read here and here. The tributes reminded me of Avner's book, The Prime Ministers, which appeared a few years ago, and which I'd never read but about which I'd heard great things from friends....I heartily recommend it if you have some interest in the history of modern Israel."
Wlady Pleszczynski, the editorial director of theAmerican Spectator, emailed upon receiving the newsletter that my mention of Avner's book reminded him of the review our late friend Joe Shattan did for the Spectator when the book came out.
Joe recounts a couple of the wonderful stories Avner tells, especially about Menachem Begin's clashes with American administrations. Joe concluded his review, written over four years ago, this way:
"That is a bit of history worth bearing in mind, as the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government head toward yet another clash -- over the president's poorly conceived peace initiative, the future of the Israeli settlements, and the looming confrontation with Iran."
You can and should read Joe's engaging review here.
Some things don't change much. But one thing that has changed is that Joe and Avner aren't with us anymore. Yehuda Avner died at age 86; Joe Shattan died much too young. As Wlady wrote, re-reading his review is a reminder of how much we miss him.