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Launched by a war

Bernard Edinger's career in journalism was launched, inadvertently, by a war.


He was among the thousands of mostly European youths who flocked to Israel to volunteer on a kibbutz (communal settlement) in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War in the Middle East. It was at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel in central Israel where he met his wife-to-be Suzanne, a co-volunteer and fellow Parisian.


After several months on the farm, his father, Reuters French language service editor, put him in touch with the sole Reuters man in Israel in those days, who had been instructed to establish a proper bureau in Tel Aviv, as the Middle East was becoming the world headache it's been since.


It was thanks to Bernie that my own career with Reuters started in earnest. He was in charge in Tel Aviv when I completed my compulsory military service, and Bernard mentored me skilfully into a reporter's job. He didn't hold a grudge for the fact that a year earlier, on the night of 3/4 July 1976 when I was minding the bureau, I fell asleep just as Israel's raid to free hijacked hostages held in Entebbe, Uganda, was beginning.


We were several minutes late on that one, but Bernie insisted the lesson would serve me well in future.


It has. ■