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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

How ‘Jim The Sabra’ Fixed It For Israel

Article first published as How ‘Jim The Sabra’ Fixed It For Israel on Technorati.

An absurd fantasist or an eccentric genius? An egregious liar or a slick international Jimmy.Savile.02power-broker?  Whatever the reality behind  Jimmy Savile, one thing is clear:

The late pioneering British disc jockey shared such empathy with the Jewish community that not only did  he dwell in the heart of it in Roundhay, Leeds – he had the chutzpa to tell Israel’s Government how to run its affairs.

The incident was supposed to have happened in 1975 during the first Rabin Administration when, invited to address the cabinet by President Ephraim Katzir, he chided members for having “forgotten how to be Jewish.” The occasion was also his first visit to Israel which coincided with a trip organised for a winner of his popular BBC TV show, Jim’ll Fix It.

Savile claimed during an interview with The Guardian newspaper’s Simon Hattenstone that he told Professor Katzir: “’I’m very disappointed because you’ve all forgotten how to be Jewish and that’s why everyone is taking you to the cleaners … You won the Six Day War, you took all that land, you gave it all back, including the only oil well in the area, and now you’re paying the Egyptians for the oil you already had.”
Savile also maintained that the president invited him to repeat his words at a Cabinet meeting. “’They asked my opinion about a couple of things, to which I said, ‘Nothing’s impossible’. They did exactly what I suggested and it worked out 100 per cent successful.’”
The occasion was confirmed partly by Roger Ordish, producer of Jim'll Fix It, who said: "I know he met the President when we were in Israel in 1975.
No wonder Hattenstone described him as “the most Jewish Catholic you'll ever meet” and that Savile saw himself as “’a sabra - a pear that's prickly on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. That's me!’”
But other, undocumented rumours abound. It is said Savile also believed he played a small but significant role in the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty  through his connection with Gladys Cotterill, the Sheffield-born mother of Madame Jehan Sadat, widow of the late President Anwar Sadat.
Three.Coins.Dance.And.Coffee.Club.01But his undisputed connection with the Jewish community began in the 1950s and 1960s when he lived in Great Clowes Street, Salford with his business associate, Ray Teret and hosted sessions at popular dance venues and coffee-dance clubs like the  Plaza Mecca  and the Three Coins in Fountain Street, Manchester where The Beatles appeared just as they were on the cusp of fame and which was known affectionately as “The Three Cohens” because of its large Jewish clientele!Three.Coins.Dance.And.Coffee.Club
Savile was also there when The Three Coins shut and re-opened as “Beat City” in August 1964.
 
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