“As far as Kenen who knows? He was a very talented man. He did a lot for Israel in the USA and Canada. Maybe he could have done a lot for Israel in Israel. But if your theory is true and the Israelis wanted that asset where it was, it makes sense.”
Can’t think of anything Isaiah Kenen ever did for the U.S. But staying here for the good of Israel was his “theory” according to his autobiography.
“When Congress adjourned, I resigned my post with the American Zionist Council and Bebe and I flew to Israel to see how the $65 million was to be spent. But we had another reason. When I became a member of the Israeli U.N. delegation, I agreed to go aliyah (settle in) to Israel after my work at the U.N. had ended. Moreover, I wanted to perfect my Hebrew and to enter an ulpan (school) for that purpose. I was traveling at my own expense and so Bebe and I had to take a modest room at the Moriah Hotel. This was a cooperative run by eight Yugoslavians—five men and three women—who came there in 1948.”
Kenen, Isaiah L., All My Causes in an 80-Year Life Span, Washington, DC: Near East Research, 1985, p. 54
“But I was not the only visitor to Israel to find out how Israel intended to use the $65 million. Congressmen, naturally, were interested. On December 6, the Israel Foreign Ministry called to tell me that I must leave the ulpan to meet a delegation consisting of Representatives Fugate and Barrett, members of the House Banking and Finance Committee, who were part of an official sub-committee checking on loans made by the Export Import Bank. …
That was just the beginning. Many more Congressmen were scheduled to arrive, for there was widespread doubt that Israel could survive. Celler was first and I escorted him around Jerusalem and its historic shrines.
Javits kept me busy for the next 18 hours. He had another project. His mother, Ida Littman Javits, was born in Safed. I went to Safed to urge the mayor, Rabbi Podhoretz—father of the editor of Commentary[q]—to name a street after her. He demurred because, he explained, there was no budget for street signs. Safed used the alphabet instead of street signs. In Jerusalem, I asked the Israel Foreign Ministry to paint the sign. But it too demurred. There was no money—either for signs or for paint. I promised to pay the bill….
During ensuing weeks I continued to escort visiting Congressmen: Ribicoff, Fugate, Keating, O’Toole, Barrett and Fein.
It soon became evident to me that I could be more useful in Washington than in Israel. Moreover, I became aware that youthful diplomats were being trained in Israel for overseas assignments. What would become of me?
So Bebe and I returned to Washington and I resumed my work on Capitol Hill.”
Kenen, Isaiah L., All My Causes in an 80-Year Life Span, Washington, DC: Near East Research, 1985, pp. 54-55