An Unheralded Zionist
By Israeli standards, my friend Gerhard Mandel lived a fairly typical life. Born in Vienna in 1929, he was brought to Palestine in 1938 as part of a rescue operation for Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Europe. When his parents reached Palestine not long afterward, they felt they could not afford to keep him at home, so he was sent temporarily to a youth village for orphans and immigrant children.
His character was forged by overcoming poverty and foreignness. After attending high school in Tel Aviv, and doing his obligatory service in the army, he began studies in Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his Ph.D. there in 1964. He went on to become chair of the department, published over twenty books of literary history and criticism, and dominated Israel’s cultural scene as one of its most authoritative critics.
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