(Editor’s Note: Retro News is a column that will appear every week this year as part of the celebration of the Chronicle’s 50th anniversary.)
Four days after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic flight to Tel Aviv — Nov. 20, 1977 — the Chronicle came out with what essentially was a review of the visit and its prospects for success.
Writing in a front-page analysis of the trip — one titled “The shadow and substance!” and illustrated by a cartoon of a shrewd-looking Sadat holding a poker hand — Chronicle Executive Editor Albert W. Bloom noted that most of the visit’s substance came in the mere fact that a jetliner touched down at Ben Gurion Airport with Sadat aboard. In other words, that the visit took place at all, not what was said during the visit.
He even paraphrased a verse from Exodus to suggest that Sadat was reaching out to Israel, not because he wanted to, but because he had to.
“After seven (and 22) lean years of hostility, Sadat and [then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin might be interpreting the future dream of seven (and an eternity) fat and peaceful years for the region,” Bloom wrote. “Egypt’s Sadat is in his seventh year of power!”
Nevertheless, Bloom fairly quoted Sadat at length in this analysis and even conveyed one of the Egyptian president’s main themes: There can be no peace without resolution of the Palestinians’ issues.
Today, we believe that is still true. We also believe the Palestinian Authority must prepare its people for peace and not send mix messages, including efforts to ignore Jewish history in the region.
This week, the Chronicle weighed in on the debate over the case of Allan Bakke, a white student who applied for admission to the medical school at the University of California-Davis. After being turned down in favor of minority students with lower academic qualifications, Bakke sued citing reverse discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled in his favor.
In its editorial, the Chronicle stopped short of an all-out endorsement of Bakke’s position, but the paper did brand quota systems as “morally repugnant,” stated that affirmative action need not be set back by the court’s ruling — whatever it would be — and lamented that Jews were no longer granted minority status “once it became a good thing in the vocabulary of the times.”
Also that week, the Chronicle carried a front-page wire story about New York Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jacob Javits, who warned that the United States would cancel a grain sale to the Soviet Union if refusenik Anatoly Sharansky were put on trial for treason.
Also this week, the Chronicle reported that the Kollel announced that its learning center would open in January 1978. In reflecting on the discussion over consolidation going on in today’s Jewish Pittsburgh, Charles Rice, then-president of Kether Torah Congregation, which housed the Kollel, cited in a statement his belief that “existing buildings need to be utilized rather than expending funds to establish new edifice.”
Rabbi Sion David of Temple Israel in Uniontown was named to the Fayette County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program board.
Members of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged were preparing for their Winter Galaxy ball. In a sign of the times, none of the four women pictured were referred to by their first names, but were instead listed as “Mesdames Abe Foster, Meyer Mallinger, Abe Borovetz, and Samuel Maysels.”
In addition, Karen Joy Ravits, the Chronicle’s campus correspondent, was writing about some of the reasons why college students may defer making aliya.
— Compiled by Lee Chottiner
(For a more comprehensive look at the Nov. 20, 1977, Chronicle, visit the jewishchronicle.net and click on “archives” at the top of the page. Back issues of the Chronicle are archived by the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project.)