Saying Farewell to Zubin Mehta, Israel’s Legendary Conductor

July 17 2019

On Sunday, Zubin Mehta conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for what might be the last time, although his retirement does not become official until the fall. Benjamin Kerstein recounts Mehta’s career:

Mehta, the first non-Israeli citizen to win the Israel Prize and the conductor most widely identified with the Jewish state, was born in India in 1936. . . . By age twenty-five, Mehta had performed with several major European orchestras, but was at an impasse in his career. . . . In 1961, his association with Israel began when he received a telegram from the Palestinian Philharmonic Orchestra, the old name for the Israel Philharmonic, which for some reason had never been changed in official correspondence: a major conductor had fallen ill, and Mehta was recruited.

He instantly fell in love with Israel. What he called the “organized mess” he found in the country reminded him of his childhood home in Bombay. In Israel, he said, “People always speak at the same time, everyone gives advice, everyone has a firm opinion. When you open the window in Bombay, you see at the same time 5,000 people.” He said he felt, “at home.”

Mehta quickly put the orchestra through its paces, conducting a series of works that had never been performed in Israel before. . . . He was overseas when the Six-Day War broke out in 1967. Mehta canceled concerts in Paris and Budapest and flew to Tel Aviv with the help of the Israeli ambassador in Rome, who managed to get him onto an ammunition-laden cargo plane. Mehta made the journey, he said, to “stand by the state and my musicians.”

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Classical music, Israel & Zionism, Israeli music, Six-Day War

 

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank