Watch: The secret letters of an Israeli pioneer

Daniel Chertoff talks about his father and the book he wrote about him as an eyewitness account of the birth of Israel.

Tags: Radio
Naor Meningher and Eytan Weinstein ,

Old letters
Old letters

Mordecai Chertoff came to Palestine in 1947 as a 25-year-old, determined to make his contribution to the emerging Jewish State.

Between 1947 and 1949 he was variously a local news editor, foreign news editor and war correspondent for the Palestine Post, a soldier in the Haganah and resident of Jerusalem. In a series of vivid and often moving letters to his family back in the United States, Mordecai described the news of the UN vote for partition, the ongoing battles along the dangerous Jerusalem–Tel-Aviv highway and the attempts to break the siege of Jerusalem, the bombing of the Palestine Post, the declaration of the State of Israel, and, inevitably, the loss of friends.

These letters have been annotated and contextualized in the book, Palestine Posts: An Eyewitness Account of the Birth of Israel, written by Modecai’s son, Daniel Chertoff.

Daniel worked in the investment industry and as a senior executive in a large Israeli high tech company. Before discovering his father’s letters, he was an adviser to the World Jewish Congress and happily writing his doctoral dissertation in English literature at the Hebrew University. Daniel is an Associate Editor of Partial Answers and he joins us today on the podcast to talk about his new book, about his father and about the founding of the state of Israel.