No, not that that one, but his name-sake from Liverpool, who loved Haifa so much that - having attended the Reali School across the road, at the time of the British Mandate, and then returned to England for university - he volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence, but his parachute was shot down.
He was buried in Rome, but his body was then moved to his beloved Haifa and buried probably in the cemetry near to the Meridian Bay, which will be full of people tomorrow, for Remembrance Day.
Cohen's immortal words were - in Hebrew -
If my body falls among strangers, you will always find my spirit on the Carmel
And the words of the final and plaintive song to end the Remembrance Day concert by pupils, past pupils, parents and teachers of the Reali school, were:
What lives on forever?
The sea and the sand,
The rustle of the water
The lightning from heaven
And the prayer of man
This is how Haaretz described tonight's Remembrance commemorations:
And this is the Jerusalem Post:
From the televized ceremony at the Kotel, what stood out, first of all, was the siren sounding at 8.00 pm. Then, the dignified words of acting President, Dalia Itzik, mentioning all the groups in the country, including the Arabs; the phrase 'a light unto the nations' and the inclusivity of every kibbutz of moshav which has suffered.
The word 'bereaved', a poem based on the creation of the world in its Tohu and Bohu state and the idea of resurrection of the dead. A Psalm was uttered by the Rabbi of the Kotel Maaravi, then Kaddish and an amazing rendition of El Male Rahamim.
Then the National Anthem, Ha-Tikvah, which seemed to be sung by one soldier alone, although this was due to the sound effects. The words signify 'hope'.
And lastly the acting President went around hugging and kissing the bereaved families in a most dignified way.
The whole thing managed to be Jewish and Israeli at the same time - and utterly moving.
Was just being brought back from Neve Shaanan where I was visiting a friend, whilst the cars and flags were coming out in force, together with music. This is the warm-up to Israel's Fallen Soldiers Day, which starts tonight. Tonight also commemorates all the victims of terror, including from before the establishment of the State. No school, institution or work-place has been left unmarked by the tragic history of Israel and its people in the last decades.
The children of Einstein St. primary were out in their masses, just as we parked the car and then my friend, Anat, rang. She was going to a commemoration at the famous Reali School, one of the best in the country, which is situated on the other side of the road from where I live.
Here is the view of tonight and tomorrow by a blogger.
So, of course I told Anat I wanted to go with. For some reason she thought I would be bored - just songs in Hebrew - she said. Maybe she really felt that I wouldn't understand, not having a history of losing loved ones through terrorism and wars, except for during the Holocaust, that is- but I wasn't alive then.
But as we say in Hebrew, 'all of us are one and the same family and are responsible for each other', so of course I shall be going tonight, but shall first watch the ceremony at the Kotel, which will be broadcast this evening in about half an hour.
This is one group's itinerary here.
Taking the bus down to the sea today, it was noticeable that there was a buzz in the air. Whether this was because of Independence Day, which is just round the corner,
too many students around with nothing to do because of the strike (and ditto with lecturers), or just that the cold weather of last week had metamorphized into a scorcher today (not all that apparent from the flat), I don't know.
And security was noticeably tighter at the bus station as well. People were swimming in the sea - the life-guards were out - which surprised me. Was it summer already? And then, reaching the Meridian Bay, what was all that digging and dredging about?
Two parallel wires had been placed in the sea, presumably to provide a safety area for swimmers - even though the area demarcated was too narrow for swimming in.
The sea was cold, as in winter and the dredging was all to do with building a walkway for bathers. Even though there is one already.
On the way down the mountain, I met an Italian called Virginia, who is converting in Pisa and moving over here. She asked me what job possibilities are like in Israel. I told her that translating might be the thing for her. Don't know how many native Italian speakers there are, but I'm sure she'll succeed.
And then, coming back, two girls both got up simultaneously to let me sit down at the bench. They turned out to be Druze, living in the nearby village of Daliat al-Carmel, one of the beauty spots of the area.
One of them said that she was training to be an electrical engineer and pointed out the sharav conditions, which I hadn't really noticed.
Still can't get over the Guardian's praise of Israel's comparatively open and robust domestic press.
Couldn't have received a nicer birthday present than that leader by Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor.
'Comparatively open and robust' - that's a bit like the Israeli people, really. Maybe Alan would like Haifa - it's laid-back, modest, friendly and polite and -very English this - embarrassed by praise, of any sort.
For instance, when I told the life-guard today that I thought tourists would love Haifa, he looked at me as if I were mad and replied: 'But what about Netanya and Eilat?' I mean, you couldn't make it up, could you? Here you are in Paradise and you want to turn it into an over-crowded Miami or Las Vegas, Israeli style!
And Haifa is full of the unexpected as well. Was just adding these links, when the aeroplane heroine rang me - you know, the one who I guessed was a Haifan and who promptly gave me a lift all the way home from ben Gurion airport in the early hours a week last Friday, accompanied by thunder and lightening.
She's training to be an English teacher and she has to prepare a class of 7th-graders (aged about 13) for the story of Persephone - and all this in English.
Could I help?
You bet - and we made a date for tomorrow - pm.
Will keep you posted.
Friday was spent walking along the beach
with my daughter, Kalela from Tel Aviv, who gave me the entire collection of Schubert's piano sonatas on CD as a present
and Esther phoned to say 'Happy Birthday' from India.
Then I went to Neve Sha'anan
for the Saturday women's prayer group and shiur in the late afternoon. And experienced the novelty of artichokes in the evening.
I stayed in what seeme to be a bunker, with very strong doors in case of missiles - and my hosts confirmed that the guest room was indeed the miklat or strong room.
The women's prayer group on Saturday morning was special, with people taking it in turns with the service. Tzipi, of Purim-cat fame
spoke about the fact that it was a double portion today, and compared this to having twins and then discussed the two words for memory, zakhor and shemor.
I was then invited to say a few words and I mentioned that ibn Ezra had talked at length about two types of memory, which I discuss in my book on pp. 81-82:
"And wisdom refers to the intellectual forms which are stored up in the posterior ventricle of the brain in the cranium ... recollection takes place in the posterior ventricle of the brain and that place is the storehouse of the forms, so that recollection includes memory".
What we would now call perhaps 'active' and 'passive' memory.
There was also a moving prayer said for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, including those who have been kidnapped - as Yom - Hazikaron - Remembrance Day takes place tomorrow night and on Monday.
https://www.jafi.org.il/education/festivls/zkatz/zk/intro.html and then merges into the joy of Independence Day - Yom-Atzma'ut.
People said individual prayers for a brother and a nephew who had fallen in two of Israel's many wars. Then there was a prayer for agunot, or women who cannot obtain divorces.
And at kiddush I got the surprise of my life, because Tzipi had even managed to prepare a luscious chocolate cake for my birthday!
At lunch I met a lovely person who had managed to leave Germany for the USA in 1936 and was interested in German Jewish philosophy, so we chatted a bit about that.
Then went back for a sleep in the 'bunker', which was accompanied by many vivid dreams, and attended the women's afternoon shiur group. Here, we studied a passage about the 'burning bush', and whether the word 'ashan', meaning 'smoke', is a noun, an adjective or a verb, depending on which vowel you use.
All in all, a great Shabbat to remember.
It's my birthday today. I received a lovely butterfly card from Les in England and another card with a dove of peace on it - SHALOM - and chocolates from a great friend.
My daughter, Kalela, is coming today to take me out to lunch, hopefully by the sea, as the weather has turned nice. And then I am meeting new people at a women's prayer group that takes place in Neve Shaanan, over Shabbat.
Just time to add that yesterday I attended the University of Haifa's monthly Mediaeval and Renaissance Seminar series (MEDRENS for short)
which considered 'Witches, Saints and Heretics at the turn of the 16th century'.
Somehow, we got on to John Bunyan as well and his attitude to women.
The university is currently on strike because the students are protesting against fee hikes and the lecturers are striking against government changes to their teaching and pay structure.
So, on arrival the changed venue was hard to find. Luckily someone I met in the lift was most helpful and turned out to be a secretary in the Presiden'ts Office.
I find Haifa University wonderful. Cambridge is glorious, but Haifa is wonderful. I feel like Alice every time I encounter it - goodness knows why. I think it's all that wandering around in mazes.
And that feeling was enhanced when I was asked if I might consider giving a seminar myself next year on my own contribution to Abraham ibn Ezra studies. I was totally gobsmacked!
Then, on the way out, I was looking for the bus which was lost because of the strike and a woman who had also attended the session asked me if I wanted a lift. Her field is 'Witchcraft in 16th Century England'.
Yes, there's plenty of witchcraft and wizardry around at Haifa University at present. Might come in useful during the next round of British university union boycott attempts, whenever they might be.
Will keep you posted.
As a PS, I think Haifa University will survive - I've just been sent a Happy Birthday wish from the British Embassy.
The British Embassy in Tel Aviv took the trouble to get in touch today regarding the National Union of Journalists decision to boycott Israel. They would like to refer concerned people to their website, where Foreign Office Minister, Kim Howells, the relevant British minister has stated categorically that Her Majesty's Government disagrees with the National Union of Journalists' boycott decision:
I think that this is the first time ever that I can remember such a statement being made. And considering we are all most concerned about the fate of British citizen, Alan Johnston, who has been abducted in Gaza, I find this comment, made now, quite extraordinary. Don't forget - the British are given to understatement. They are the opposite of the Israelis when it comes to use of language, as I am learning all the time here.
Kim Howells took part in a very good two-part BBC Radio Four broadcast about the War in the North which I heard when I returned to Britain recently, and he even visited Haifa during the War and vividly described on the programme what he saw there. I, for one, found him very positive and objective, and most of all, concerned about Israeli suffering during that time.
The British Embassy has also asked me to point out that in answer to people's enquiries regarding the future of Holocaust Education in the UK, they are referring the Israeli public to the Holocaust Education Trust's letter, which the CEO of the Council of Christians and Jews sent me two days ago and which I immediately posted on my site.
The CEO of CCJ has since asked me again to ask all those people who are sending out misinformation to desist. So if you know anyone who is sending out circulars suggesting that Holocaust Education is going to be stopped in Britain, please let them know that this is simply the opposite of the truth.
After all Melanie Phillips
the World Jewish Congress
and I cannot all be wrong. And I really do think that the British Embassy in Tel Aviv is more in touch with government and educational agencies in Britain than most.
So, the upshot is that the British Government is against all boycotts, as was pointed out on my blog by the Embassy's Consul General, Janet Rogan, last year. And the British Government is not only in favour of Holocaust Education, but even more determined to see all the relevant curricula implemented now that they have publicly recognized that there is a problem of anti-semitic discourse at all levels of British society.
And we Israelis can help them by not crying wolf all the time. There is enough anti-semitism in Britain - as elsewhere - but exaggerating and fomenting anxiety will only aggravate the situation and do nothing to cure it.
This is what British Consul General, Janet Rogan, said regarding academic boycotts on my blog last October:
'I utterly fail to see how anyone, especially an academic, imagines that cutting off contact and holding boycotts is a way to educate others, influence debate or change policies.... Opinions mean debate and one assumes or at least hopes that academic debate might lead to enlightenment, clarification, change, greater understanding'
Maybe the NUJ should take note.
Following on the heels of statements made by Ruth Gledhill of the Times, who is 'glad' she left the British National Union of Journalists 20 years ago and Michael Gove MP, former Associate Editor of Times, who reluctantly left them yesterday for the same reason, (i.e., its boycott against the only democratic country in the region), the Foreign Press Association has now issued the following statement:
The Foreign Press Association condemns the British National Union of Journalists over their boycott of Israel.
The FPA also say that it will make the job of all journalists in the region more difficult.
Maybe the British university teaching unions should take heed?! Maybe people will start boycotting them in return.
Now that would be interesting.