Monday, January 04, 2010

Weird historical footnotes

1. According to David Harris,

in 2001, Richard Reid, who was later to become the notorious shoe bomber, flew on El Al. According to a CBS news report, while the Israelis didn't have enough on him at the time to keep him off the plane, they were suspicious. They examined everything before he boarded and then, for good measure, placed a marshal in the adjoining seat. If he was on a scouting mission, he got the point and looked elsewhere.

That's the last from me on airport security, I swear.... (for now...).

2. Over the weekend I finished a great novel in Hebrew, Ot Me-Avshalom - A Message from Avshalom - by Nava Makmel-Atir. It tells the story of Avshalom Feinberg, one of the heroes of Nili, the Jewish spy network in Ottoman Palestine which helped the British during the First World War. He disappeared in the Sinai desert, which he was crossing by foot in order to reach the British in Egypt, and his body was not discovered for more than half a decade. His remains were found under a palm tree that had sprouted from the seeds of a date Feinberg had carried in his pocket.

Avshalom's story is well-known. But this new book included a fascinating footnote that was completely new to me. According to Makmel-Atir, Dora Bloch - the grandmother who was murdered at Antebbe - was Avshalom Feinberg's first cousin. Their fathers were brothers.

This geneology website seems to show the same thing.

Not only that, but one of the women killed in the collapse of the Versailles wedding hall in Jerusalem a few years back was Bloch's granddaughter, through her son Ilan, who was with her on the Air France plane that was hijacked.

And Avshalom's great-nephew, also named Avshalom, was a soldier killed in the early 1970s.

It seems like an awful lot of bad luck for one family.

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