Kissinger for Israel

Kissinger for Israel

After reading “Peres: a man of contradictions” (Oct. 6), I was very surprised to read your characterization of Henry Kissinger as unsympathetic to Israel in brokering mid-East peace deals.

Though I never have had any direct contact with Kissinger, I did know Ephraim Katchalski Katzir, the president of Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, especially well. Katzir and I became friends when we both worked in the same laboratory at Harvard during the late 1950s, and afterward kept in close touch through correspondence, even during his time as president, and by personal visits in Princeton and when he later resumed his scientific work at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. 

It was during my last visit with him in May 2006, shortly before his death, when, after discussing the science I was then engaged in, he spent the better part of an hour telling me about some of his experiences as president during the Yom Kippur War. During that conversation, with no prompting from me, he said that the Israeli success during that short but terrible war was so very much due to Henry Kissinger, who, upon learning of the surprise attack on our holiest of days, immediately persuaded President Nixon to authorize flying all necessary arms to Israel without delay. Without that help, Israel might not have been able to deal successfully with the perilous situation, as it did. Katzir went on to say that Israel indeed owed very much to Kissinger. 

Jacques R. Fresco
Pfeiffer Professor in the Life Sciences emeritus
Princeton University

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