By PHILIP SLOMOVITZ
'King David"—Commendable Biblical-Historical Novel
From the time of the triumph of young David, the Son of
Jesse, over Goliath the Philistine, until David the King over all
Israel turned his kingdom over to Solomon, there was an untold
number of stirring events, all of which are incorporated in the
novel, - King David," by Gwyn Jenkins, published by Doubleday.
The author, who lives in Wales and is a teacher, has invested
an immense amount of labor, has done much research, and has
collected a mass of information for inclusion in this significantly
dramatic story of one of the greatest personalities in all history.
In this novel, David is the warrior, the lover of many women,
the father who survives intrigues by his own sons as well as many
court squabbles. The able novelist frequently quotes the Psalms.
It is as the Psalmist that David probably should have best
remained in mankind's memory, and it is, in a sense, to be
regretted that more emphasis has not been placed by Jenkins
upon David the Psalmist. But in all other respects he has
produced a great work. It is an excellent introduction to Jenkins'
current effort, which is to be a novel dealing with the life of
Solomon, and the antecedent, the novel about David, augurs
well for the forthcoming work.
David as the favorite of Saul; later hounded by the King who
preceded him, his flight for his life, his love for Michal, his marriage
to Abigail, the call to him to become King, having been chosen to
rule by Samuel and then by the popular response to his popularity,
are depicted graphically.
Saul and Jonathan are described here, the former in his weak-
ness, the latter as the friend of DaVid.
Then came David's rule in Herbon where six sons and a daugh-
ter were born to him during his reign, before he made Jerusalem
his capital. And in the course of David's military rule, during
which he acquired much territory, there were several women, so
that the novelist declares: "Woman . . . the glory and the bane of
the Son of Jesse."
Describing David's establishment of headquarters in "the fort
of Zion," Jenkins writes a poetic description of Jerusalem "in its
apparent impregnability." Leading up to the time when "never
before had Israel lived in such happiness and security," under
David, the novelist lists the causes of such success and he com-
ments: "The dietary laws, together with the laws of personal
cleanliness, made for a physically healthy people; and these,
combined with strict moral laws, produced a nation second to
none in the history of humanity."
There were tragedies in David's life: Absalom's murder of his
half-brother Amnon, David's eldest son, for having defiled his sister
Tamar; Absalom's revolt and death at the hands of Joab; the
murder of Abner, Saul's general, by Joab, and David's admonition
to Solomon, in the legacies he handed down to him: "Be wise,
and do not allow him to die in peace in his old age."
There was the tragedy of David's guilt in having sent to his
doom the general Uriah, so that he could acquire his wife, Bath-
sheba, the mother of Solomon.
When David called upon Solomon from his deathbed, to be-
come King, Solomon was caught by surprise. He was the youngest
son, and he believed his older brother, Prince Adonijah, would be
called to kingship. He consented to accept the great honor, and in
the meantime Adonijah began to plot to assume rulership, during
his father's dying days. Then King David acted: he placed Solomon
upon his throne immediately.
In the course of blessing Solomon, David said that after he
will have received instructions from the priests and Levites he
would have a plan for him "of the temple which I have always
wanted to build for our great and wonderful God," and he added:
"However, God gave me to understand that my hands had
shed much blood, that I had been a man of war and God refused
to accept the desire of my heart. But he did give me to understand
that I should have a peace-loving son, a man of rest. You are the
son who shall build the great temple of the Lord God of Israel.
In your days, Solomon, Israel shall be a rich land of peace and
happiness. You shall build a house for his name, and shall be as a
son to our God, and he will be your father when I am gone, and
he will establish your throne. Now, Solomon my son, the Lord
be with you and bless you with wisdom, and give you charge of
the Law so that you shall prosper! Be strong: be of good courage:
This is the confessional charge to a son, who was to become
world famous, as was his father, but along entirely different, along
peace-loving goals. Gwyn Jenkins has produced a fine biblical-
historical novel. We look forward to its successor—the Solomon
story—for which the novelist, judged by his "King David," is
eminently well prepared.
Moscow - Oriented Anti - Israel Propaganda
Another example of misrepresentation is to be found in an
article in New Times, published in Russia. Under the heading
"Ructions in the Zionist Camp," the article discusses the impli-
cations in the recent Israeli elections. Published before the
elections, this article launched an attack on Israel's Prime
Minister Ben-Gurion and stated:
"Ben-Gurion himself began the campaign by a visit to
Canada, U.S.A., Britain and France. His purpose, besides solicit-
ing support in the coming elections, was to remove certain
corriplications in U.S.-Israeli relations. The fact is that the
Israeli Zionists owe Kennedy an apology — in the U.S. presi-
dential elections they openly supported Nixon. When one Israeli
paper published a picture of Kennedy, Foreign Minister Golda
Meir remarked that this was 'a foolish thing to do'."
While there were irresponsible involvements in the U.S.
political campaign in Israel last year — something unavoidable
in any land — the above is an unfortunate misrepresentation.
There was an Israeli journalist who foolishly assumed to back
Nixon — in a land where Nixon could not benefit by a single
vote. But insofar as American Jewry is concerned, Jewish voters
were as divided as their non-Jewish neighbors, primarily in
class thinking. It was reported that more than 85 per cent of
the Jews voted for Kennedy. But neither that, nor the non-
sensical injection of American politics in an Israeli newspaper
justified the suggestion that "Israeli Zionists owe Kennedy an
apology." Kennedy himself knows better.
Detroit Asked to Pay Million by Dec. 10 Toward
Campaign Pledges; Honigman, Is Simons' Co-Chief
Leonard N. Simons, chairman
of the Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion cash collection committee,
reports that collections must total
a million dollars during the
period between now and Dec. 10.
Simons said $800,000 was raised
in that period in 1960.
"On Dec. 10, we hope to be
able to report to the United
Jewish Appeal Conference in
New York that Detroit has a full
million dollars available for im-
mediate allocation," Simons said.
"The additional $200,000 will be
Detroit's extra contribition to
making 'cash immediately avail-
able to the UJA in its national
cash collection drive."
Simons announced the ap-
pointment of Jason L. Honig-
man as co-chairman of the cash
collection committee. "With Ja-
son Honigman's help, I feel
confident that we will reach OUT
million dollar goal by Dec. 10,"
He called for the translation
of the promise of outstanding
pledges into the reality of great
humanitarian service, and urged
Detroit Jewry to aid in the great
national drive to turn millions
of dollars on the books of fed-
erations and welfare funds
throughout the nation into cash.
"The pressures for these funds
have mounted severely in the
past few months," Simons said,
"as immigration to Israel has in-
creased beyond expectation and
beyond budgetary provisions, and
as national and local unmet
needs have mounted here at
home." He urged the immediate
payment of outstanding pledges
in full now, and asked those who
cannot make payment in full now
to pay as large a part as possible
"For the period through Dec.
10 we must collect on pledges
at the rate of $3,000 in extra
payments each day," Simons
said. He said that during that
period in 1960 payments aver-
aged $12,000 daily and that they
must average $15,000 daily this
year to be able to make $200,000
more cash available to the UJA
than was available at this time
Honigman is the Allied Jewish
Campaign professional division
big gifts chairman. He is pres-
ident of the Michigan State Bar
Foundation, chairman of the
Civil Procedure Committee of
the Judicial. Conference, and
vice-chairman of the Joint Com-
Knudsen Will Address
Round Table Dinner
The Detroit Round Table of
Catholics, Jews and Protestants
has • announced that Semon E.
Knudsen, vice president of Gen
eral Motors Corp. and general
manager of its Pontiac Motor
Division, will be honored guest
and featured speaker for the
annual Brotherhood Dinner 6:30
p.m. Dec. 5 at Cobo
The occasion will also com-
memorate the 33rd anniversary
of the founding of the National
Conference of Christians and
Jews. Dinner chairman is Don-
ald F. Valley, chairman of the
board of the National Bank of
nine Allied Jewish Campaign
trade and professional divisions.
"We must regard this. cash
campaign with the same urgency
we use in soliciting pledges in
the annual Allied Jewish Cam-
paign," Simons said.
mission on Michigan Procedural
Revision. He is author of a stand-
ard legal reference book, "Mich-
igan Court Rules Annotated."
Simons said that he and
Honigman are assembling a com-
mittee of representatives of the
1.110.1 •11011. 141•11• 041101. H11.0
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)
The discussion in Moscow over the poem "Babi Yar" by the
prominent young Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtuschenko, in which he
raises the question of anti- Semitism in the Soviet Union, is having
its reverberations in the United States . . . The attack on him by
the Moscow literary magazine "Literature and Life" for raising
this question is now being studied in this country by responsible
groups . . . The feeling among these groups is- that this attack
presents a good opportunity for Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
to clarify his views once and for all on the subject of anti-Semitism.
. . . It has long been suspected that anti-Semitism—which reached
its highest point in the last years of the Stalin regime—is still
encouraged in the Soviet Union by being given the "silent treat-
ment" . . . Furthermore, certain remarks by Premier Khrushchev
during a visit to Poland and in conversations with foreign delega-
tions in Moscow, have left the impression that Khrushchev himself
is not bent on discouraging anti-Semitism . . . The "Babi Yar" con-
troversy is thus considered in this country a test case for Mr.
Khrushchev personally . . . He can come out and put an end to
this controversy by making his views clear on the ugliness of anti-
Semitism, or he can pass it by in silence, which would confirm the
opinion that he is inclined to tolerate anti-Semitism . . . The
collective grave in "Babi Yar," a suburb of Kiev, where more than
40,000 Jews were machine-gunned by the Nazis during the German
occupation of Kiev, could have been converted by Mr. Khrushchev
into a monument pointing to the Nazi barbarities . . . Instead, the
Soviet authorities have—for reasons known only to themselves—
attempted to wipe out every possible memory of this huge field of
mass-slaughter of Jews by reducing it to a desolate piece of land.
. . . The poem by Yevtuschenko has brought out the tragedy of
"Babi Yar" before the wide world, but, what is perhaps more
important, the Moscow attacks on Yevtuschenko's poem brings out
now the fact that anti-Semitism still persists in the Soviet Union
even among some of the "Qultured" elements of the country.
Babi Yar Reverberations
The personal role of Premier Khrushchev in the Babi Yar
affair is puzzling many Jews and non-Jews in this country who have
been watching events in the Soviet Union . . . It is recalled here
that in 1945, Khrushchev, who was then the General Secretary
of the Ukrainian Communist Party, swore that as soon as the war
was over a monument would be erected over the mass graves of
the victims, to serve as a permanent reminder to the Soviet people
and to the world of the Nazi barbarism against JeWs . . . But in
the years that followed, he apparently changed his mind . . . Not
only has he forgotten his pledge, but a recent suggestion of the
Kiev Municipal Council to set up a monument at Babi Yar was
turned down by the central Soviet authorities . . . The excuse given
was that under the town-planning project, the Babi Yar area was
destined to be converted into a refuse dump . . Today it is
difficult for a tourist even to get to Babi Yar when visiting Kiev.
. . . Intourist officials tell tourists that "they have never heard"
of Babi Yar . . . Local citizens in Kiev shake their heads and are
afraid to disclose its whereabouts to foreigners . . . The mention
of Babi Yar in connection with the massacre of Jews became an
offense, even though during the war and in the early post-war
years the Soviets denounced the Babi Yar crime . . . The only ones
who remember the Babi Yar tragedy are the Jews of Kiev . . . On
Yom Kippur eve, regarded as the anniversary of the great massacre,
they go stealthily to the site of the slaughter to mourn their dead
and pour out their hearts.
The mystery surrounding the official change in the Soviet atti-
tude toward the Babi Yar crime is all the more puzzling because
in 1945, the official Soviet State Political Publishing House, Gos-
politizdat, was still permitted to issue a book on it .. . The book,
"German Crimes in Kiev," by K. Dubina, contained well-documented
data on the mass-killing of the Jews in the Babi Yar ravine . . .
Soviet opinion was deeply shocked by the holocaust depicted in this
book and it was then that Khrushchev swore that when the war
was over, a monument would be erected . . . Since then, however,
mention of the Babi Yar tragedy disappeared from Soviet literature
and the press . . . A Ukrainian-Jewish poet, Savva Golovanivsky,
was bitterly attacked in the Soviet literary publication "Literatur-
naya Gazeta" for a poem of Babi Yar . . . In this poem Golovaniv-
sky said that the Russian and Ukrainian poptlace of Kiev "had
turned their backs on old Jew, Abraham,. whom in 1941 the
Germans had marched through the streets of the city to be shot"
. . . Another 'Ukrainian-Jewish poet, Pervomaisky, was denounced
for "repeating Golovanivsky's defamation of the Soviet people" .. .
A third, Grubian, was accused of displaying "infatuation with
Jewish Nationalism" by mourning the Babi Yar victims ... A tragic
song of Babi Yar, recorded by Nehama Lipschitz, a popular Yiddish
singer, was removed from sale throughout the Soviet Union . . .
Under these circumstances, Yevtuschenko's poem now on Babi Yar
was quite a courageous act on the part of the young poet . .
Obviously he thought that the ban on writing on Babi Yar was over
with the death of Stalin . . . Perhaps he also wanted to remind
Premier Khruschev of the pledge he made when he was not Premier
but the head of the Communist Party in the Ukraine where the
Babi Yar crime was committed. (Yevtushenko was erroneously
referred to in last week's Commentary as a Russian Jewish poet.
He is not a Jew.)