Photo Credit:Avishag Shaar-Yashuv
HaAretz By: Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken.
In a wide-ranging interview with the student newspaper of Ariel University, Schocken discusses how the Israeli right has redefined Zionism, how Israel isn’t interested in peace, how the future of Israel is cause for concern – and how, despite all this, peace is still possible.
It’s not easy being Amos Schocken, the publisher of Haaretz, in present-day Israel. The Israeli bon ton is distancing itself from him, and he and his newspaper have become a target for the barbs of right-wing organizations, who portray the newspaper as anti-Zionist and as a fifth column. And those are some of the milder descriptions.
For Schocken, 70, everything began with family. His German-born grandfather, Salman Schocken, began his career as an uneducated shopkeeper and became an economic phenomenon. Along with his varied business interests and the chain of department stores that he built and managed, he was an impressive autodidact who read books on philosophy, history, the humanities and Judaism. He provided financial support for quite a number of Jewish philosophers and intellectuals, and was the patron of Israel’s Nobel laureate for literature, S.Y. Agnon.
In 1934, when the Nazi party came to power, Salman Schocken, an ardent Zionist, decided to immigrate to Palestine. There he became a member of the board of the Jewish National Fund, and helped to purchase land in Haifa Bay. In 1935, he added to his publishing empire a local newspaper that he purchased for 23,000 pounds sterling. It was called Haaretz.