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May 28, 1976 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-05-28

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Israel White

(From the Jerusalem Post)

"Even before the state
was created, Weizmann's
home was known as 'The
White House' ", said Meyer

Jewish Agency
Cuts Expenses

Moshe Rivlin, director gen-
eral of the Jewish Agency,
reported that a substantial
reduction of expenses has
been effected since a savings
and efficiency committee
was appointed by the
agency executive two years
Rivlin said that the Jew-
ish Agency has 411 fewer
employes than it had two
years ago. He said that 700
jobs had been eliminated
and 400 employes were re-
trenched in the past year
alone. But the net reduction
in personnel amounted to
only 100 last year because
300 new employes were
He cited as additional
cost-cutting measures a 25
percent reduction in mi-
leage allowances for Jewish
Agency and World Zionist
Organization employes re-
quired to travel; a reduction
in missions abroad by WZO
officials; and a half million
dollar saving in the opera-
tion of the Agency's Euro-
pean offices.


To: The Jewish News

17515 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Suite 865
Southfield, Mich. 48075


, ■ 19!

May 28; 1976 53

ouse-TheWeizmann Home

"It was the home of a man
who was officially president
of the Jewish people long be-
fore he became president of
the state of Israel. Here he
received the leaders of the
world, and critical decisions
determining the future of
the Jewish people were
made. He had it built for
him — at his own cost, he
never took a penny from the
movement — by Eric Men-
delsohn, of the Bauhaus, as
a classic example of the
Bauhaus work."
Weisgal describes the lov-
ing restoration of the build-
ing as being similar, al-
though on a very small
scale, of course, to the build-
ing of the Williamsburg vil-
lage in Virginia. "Rafi Blu-
menfeld, the architect, told
us, 'whatever you do, make
the House look as if Weiz-
mann had just walked out of
it.' We followed these in-
structions; everything is
restored exactly as it was. It
will be a museum and a
place for students of Zion-
ism to work on the Weiz-
mann papers."
Gershon Dror, the man-
aging director of finance
and administration in Yad
Chaim Weizmann, says,
"In these days when the
nation seems racked by
masochism and self-criti-
cism, and when Zionism is
coming under such venom-
ous attacks, it is a great
thing to create a haven for
the Zionist spirit, personi-
fied in Dr. Weizmann and
preserved in this museum.
We expect 250,000 people
from Israel and abroad to
visit the House every
On the wall of the house is
a plaque, commemorating
the donation by Vivien Duf-
field of the funds needed for
the restoration. This was
her birthday gift to her
father, Sir Charles Clore.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the
scientist, after years of pov-
erty, was able to merchan-
dise some of his wisdom and


understanding — notably
his discoveries of dyes and
other chemical processes —
into enough gold and silver
to build the home of his
dreams, suitable for a
prince in Israel.
The mansion overlooks
the orange groves of Re-
hovot on the one hand and
the gardens of the Weiz-
mann Institute of Science.
Dror estimates the home
costs somewhere between
10,000 pounds and 15,000
pounds — a lot of pounds
in those days — and was
finished in 1939. The resto-
ration has cost $250,000.
"Mrs. Weizmann, I am
sure, would have approved
what we have done," Dror
comments, "But she would
have given us a hard time
while we were doing it."
Walking around the
house we pass a small swim-
ming-pool, set in the white
wings of the building. From
the outbuilding, erected to
house the offices of Yad
Chaim Weizmann, we go
along a passage, lined by the
six austere study rooms re-
served for students of the
Weizmann archives, which
are stored in the cellars.
Pride of place in the study
and library is taken by the
famous portrait of Weiz-
mann. There is a T'ang Dy-
nasty carving of a white
horse, which, Dror said, has
been valued at 50,000
pounds. Autographed pho-
tographs of Churchill,
Smuts, Balfour and Lloyd
George abound. A bust of
Weizmann by Jacob Epstein
is displayed. Here it was
that Weizmann sat and
talked to the great men of
the world. Or perhaps he
took them into the adjoining
music-room, to hear Menu-
hin of Heifetz perform.
Completing the ground
floor is the dining-room,
with seats for 12 people,
where, in terms of the
British tradition that he
admired so much, Weiz-
mann and his fellow diners

combined so many impor- wanted to be near the Vol-
tant decisions with good cani Institute, but, in the re-
sult, there is no tie between
food and drink.
Batya Abramowitz came the scientists working in the
to work for the Weizmanns two institutes. Would it not
when she was a young have been better — and
woman, and remained at would not fund-raising have
the Institute after Vera been much easier — if the
died. She is back working in great statesman-scientist
the house, where she also had chosen Jerusalem in-
served when it was used for stead of Rehovot for the
some years, before being Sieff Institute? And
closed, as a residence for vis- wouldn't the Holy City have
iting celebrities, like Nobel been a more suitable site for
the White House, a home
Prize-winner Isador Rabi.
On the first floor is the suitable for the President?
"It's never been a handi-
small room in which he
died, arranged exactly as it cap that we're in Rehovot. In
was at that melancholy 1944, David Ben-Gurion
time. Lying open is the suggested that I build the
prayer book read to him a Weizmann Institute in Jeru-
few hours before he died. salem. I went back to the
There is also the large bed- chief with the proposal. He
room and the smaller said no, it was not desirable
rooms, intended for the that we should put all our
boys, one of whom, Michael, eggs in one basket. Mark
was to be denied a chance to this now: he warned me that
use by the War, in which he a time might come when
fought and died in the RAF. Jerusalem would be cut off
There are several pictures of from the rest of the country,
and scientists would have to
Michael in the house.
On the top floor Mendel- be brought down to the
sohn placed a large guest plain with great difficulty.
room, opening on to a roof And that's precisely what
garden commanding views happened — scientists were
stretching out in all direc- flown out of Jerusalem and
taken to Rehovot, where
Weisgal has activated they set up Hemed, the
the publication of the scientific arm of our defense
Weizmann letters in 25 forces. You see what an ac-
volumes, plus several ac- curate prophet Weizmann
companying books, plus was?"
the development of impres-
And where does he go
sive memorial plaza, plus from here? What new
the annexation of the project to honor the chief
month of November as the is hatching in that fertile
Weismann month — now brain, under that thatch of
he has added the White wavy iron hair?
House Museum. How
"By 1977 we'll have fin-
much money has he raised
altogether in Weizmann's ished the publication of the
letters in 25 volumes. We've
"I suppose that in the last got two books coming out
30 years I've raised $250 mil- right now about Weizmann,
lion for the Institute, and one by Harold Blumberg,
about $5 million for the ar- the other by Barnett Litvi-
nov. Now Mrs. Duffield has
chives and so on.
Reverting to the Weis- made possible the restora-
mann Institute and the me- tion of the White House,
morial to Weizmann, has it and Israelis and others will
not been a disadvantage be able to see the truth for
that Weizmann chose Re- themselves. But still, there
hovot? At the time he may be more to be done."


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"The White House" became the name of the home of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, first president of the state of Israel.
Pictured here is the library of the Weizmann home, Dr. Weizmann's favorite room, which remains today with the
books, pictures and personal, mementos exactly as they were when he worked at his desk. Dr. Weizmann built the
home at his own expense.

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