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November 22, 1985 - Image 41

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

41

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, November 22, 1985

home," recalls Avraham Burg.
"She protected my two sisters
and me from my father's public
shadow! Besides, my father al-
ways preferred to keep his pub-
lic and private lives completely
apart. When the family get to-
gether we don't talk politics. We
have our fixed opinions and we
respect that. Anyway when my
father sees me, my wife Yael,
who is a new immigrant from
France, and our two children, he
is more interested in playing
with his grandchildren than
talking politics."
Avraham Burg is an interest-
ing subject in his own right,
possessing his father's wit,
charm, sincerity, adept mind
and intellectual prowess. A
graduate of the Hebrew Univer-
sity in African Studies he is an
officer in the paratroopers. A
terrible accident while doing
army reserve duty in 1979 saw
him hospitalized for two years
and left him semi-paralyzed
with sensory disfunctions to the
spine and feet. Nevertheless, he
volunteered to fight in Lebanon
in 1982 because he wanted to be
with his unit.
While serving in Lebanon he
underwent a deep change of out-
look. "Until then I was not a
political person," he recalls.
"But in the Talmudic tradition I
had always been a questioning
person, and I began to question
the direction Israel was going

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in. Somewhere along the line I
felt that Zionism had lost some
of its tolerance."
Becoming a leading activist in
Peace Now, Avraham Burg wit-
nessed some of that intolerance
at its most violent. In 1983 he
was standing next to his Peace
Now colleague Emile Grunzweig
when he was killed by a hand
grenade.
During 1984 Avraham Burg
spent a year as the first Leader-
ship Fellow of the New Israel
Fund. This is a philanthropic
organization like the UJA which
channels funds to 'progressive'
projects and encourages a candid
dialogue betwen Israel and
American Jewry. His experience
with the fund became a
springboard for his recent ap-
pointment as Advisor to the
Prime Minister on Diaspora Af-
fairs. "It is important to build a
strong relationship between Is-
rael and the diaspora," he says.
"A relationship of mutual re-
spect that does not involve guilt
and hypocrisy. If a Jew chooses
to live in the diaspora rather
than Israel, then he is no better
or worse a person."
The Knesset has been graced
by one Burg for 36 years, and
regardless of when Yosef Burg
does resolve to retire, it seems
more likely that the Burg name
may remain in the Knesset for a
further 36 years.

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