Jewish Book World


In this memoir Suzy Eban, wife of the great Israeli statesman Abba Eban, celebrates the exciting and challenging years just before and following the years of Israeli independence. She describes the difficult political realities of the time as the Middle East juggled the Suez Crisis and post-World War II Jewish immigrant conflicts. Groomed to play an important role in the struggle for Israeli independence, Abba and Suzy wend their diplomatic way through their service to the United Nations and then as ambassadors for Israel to America.

Eban discusses two pertinent items that get little attention elsewhere in current historical accounts. One is the role that wives of Israeli leaders played in helping their husbands in Israeli politics, such as Paula Ben Gurion and Vera Weizmann. Their diplomatic skills and astute sense of the necessities of the moment make for fascinating reading. The other item of specific note in this memoir is the author’s cogent understanding of how Israel has evolved from a nation sharing socialist and religious foundations into onethat mixes those two elements with a rising modern, Western ideological way of understanding the nation and its relationship to the rest of the world.

The Ebans, like all political families, made many sacrifices, including having to constantly move and uproot their children. However, Suzy Eban does not regret the choices she and her husband made. She cites the comments of peers and even opponents who realized after “Abba’s” death what a brilliant, talented man her husband was. This beautifully written, intelligent, and comprehensive memoir will reward readers interested in a behind the scenes understanding of Israeli history and politics.

Review by D.S.
© Jewish Book World 2010