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Historian Prof. Zvi Yaevtz, winner of the Israel Prize and founder of Tel Aviv University, has passed away

Apart from his scientific contribution, Zvi Yabetz contributed a lot to higher education in Israel. He was one of the founders of Tel Aviv University and the founders of the Faculty of Humanities there, and even served as the Dean of the Faculty

The late Prof. Zvi Yaebetz. Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv University
The late Prof. Zvi Yabetz. Photo courtesy of Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University mourns the passing of Prof. Zvi Yaebetz, a great historian, winner of the Israel Prize for the year 1990, who was one of the most important pillars of higher education in Israel. He was 88 years old when he died.

Prof. Zvi Yavetz, a world-renowned expert on the history of ancient Rome, authored dozens of books and hundreds of articles, which were published in the most respected magazines and in many languages. He was invited to lecture and teach at leading universities in the United States, Germany, England and other places. His broad and deep education served as an example to many, and he was known as a brilliant lecturer, who won the hearts of his listeners. In Israel he cultivated the studies of antiquity and classical culture and educated a whole generation of young scholars. For his contribution to the study of ancient history, Zvi Yabetz received the Israel Prize in 1990 and an honorary doctorate from various universities around the world.

Apart from his scientific contribution, Zvi Yabetz contributed a lot to higher education in Israel. He was one of the founders of Tel Aviv University and the founders of the Faculty of Humanities there, and even served as the Dean of the Faculty.

Of great importance was the manner in which he established the magnificent Department of General History at Tel Aviv University, which he headed for about three decades. Yavetz managed to recruit the best historians, who had an international reputation in their field; Ensure a high academic level and the requirement to study classical and modern languages; Cultivated the most talented among the young researchers and ensured their continued training in the best universities in the world. In order to deepen the humanistic education among the elites in Israel, he established academic study frameworks at the Command and Staff College and the National Security College and was one of the founders of the history quarterly Zamanim (in issue 100 of Zamanim, fall 2007, a long interview with Professor Yaebetz, conducted with his son Ido Yaebetz, also a historian) was published. .

Prof. Yavetz will be remembered as a charismatic person, full of humor, sharp, with a phenomenal memory and a gracious speaker. He served as a mentor to many of the students and researchers he supported.

Prof. Zvi Yabetz's funeral will be held on Thursday, January 10.1.2013, XNUMX, at Kibbutz Tel Yitzchak.

Prof. Zvi Yeavetz was born in Chernivtsi in 1925, a cosmopolitan city to which he dedicated a book published a few years ago, a kind of portrait of a life that is no longer before the Holocaust. In 1941, when the Nazis occupied Bukovina, Yabetz's family went through the terrible course of persecution and extermination. He lost his parents but managed to escape the train of death; He returned home, uncovered a small cache hidden in the yard and together with 18 other young men bribed a Romanian official and left in a boat to the Black Sea, but were forced to abandon it on the Turkish coast. Lord Wedgwood, the British representative, took pity on them and transferred them to Cyprus; The group arrived in Israel in 1944. When the young Zvi Zucker learned that his parents had indeed passed away, he adopted his mother's last name.

At the heart of Zvi Yaevtz's work is the question of the tension between rulers and ruled, between the "plebes" (the "Plebians") and the heads of the people in the republic and the Roman Empire. Yeavetz broke through in his observation of classes that were not in the ruling circles in ancient Rome and then in his studies about the Roman emperors. He always made sure that his books also appeared in Hebrew, making sure to create a research field in Hebrew of the classical world and expose it to a wide public. His book "Augustus: The Victory of Moderation" well illustrates his insight into the intricacies of politics, an insight that he also realized when he helped in the foundation, management and establishment of Tel Aviv University. Advised to publish in languages ​​in which he had a good command (Hebrew, English, German and French) and well in languages ​​in which he did not publish such as Yiddish, Romanian and Russian (except for the classical languages, Greek and Latin).

He began his life in Israel as a member of a kibbutz, which he left in favor of studying at the Hebrew University. He then worked as a teacher in a school for the deaf-mutes to earn his living. He wrote an MA thesis in modern history and was a student of Richard Kovner, Hugo Bergman, Martin Buber, Haim Wiershovsky and M. Schwab It was Victor Cherikover, who brought Yabetz to the study of the ancient world and especially to the study of the status and condition of the "common people in Rome" (the name of his book in Hebrew) on which he wrote his doctoral thesis at Oxford, which he arrived at in 1954.

Upon his return to Israel at the age of 29, his attempt to be admitted to the Hebrew University was unsuccessful and Yabetz responded to the request of the mayor of Tel Aviv to join the new institution that was then being established: Tel Aviv University. His activities soon went far beyond the history department he joined, and he is considered one of the prominent founders of the university in general, while combining vision, politics, academic diplomacy, and a wonderful ability to recruit senior faculty for the university in general and the general history department in particular. Under his leadership the club was one of the largest and best in the world. In 1962 Yavetz went on a two-year mission to Addis Ababa to build the Faculty of Humanities there. His stay at the Emperor's side strengthened his recognition of the importance of studying the relationship between rulers and ruled. The research ended in a revolutionary book in its importance on "Crowds and Leaders" published at the University of Oxford in 1969. Yeavetz gave a voice to the masses that are usually invisible in the historical sources. He also showed how the Roman emperors used the masses as a counterweight to the Senate which was thus forced to give up the monopoly of power it had enjoyed during the Republic.
In his studies on Julius Caesar, Zvi Yaovetz understood what only a little later became a central field: the role of the public image (existimatio) of the ruler that sets him apart and distinguishes him from his peers. In his research on Augustus, Yaebetz continued and explored the roles of the leader's charisma, which he places historically in its immediate context (the charisma of the Lubavitcher Rabbi was not that of Napoleon, he used to joke), contrary to the prevailing position in the social sciences that it is a universal trait.

2 תגובות

  1. I read his books on Roman emperors: Julius, Augustus Octavianus, Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, Claudius, on slavery and empire. I wish he won't be forgotten in the pages of history. Books that are fun to read are very good in my subjective opinion, in hardcover chrome paper. For those of us who saw such a lifestyle show with him 20 years ago. It's nice that we had someone in the style of the mighty Roman Empire scholars like the German Momzen. It's even more beautiful that a Holocaust survivor, a person who fought against the circumstances did it.

  2. A heavy loss indeed.
    I was privileged to be among his students and to enjoy his wonderful lectures that were seasoned with witty humor and captivating cynicism. At that time we were living in the sloping hall in the Gilman building, and during his lectures there was no place to sit, not even in the tiered passages between the rows.
    I remember that the first two rows were occupied by knowledgeable "aunties" and "annoying" "grandmothers", who used to pester the professor with various questions, and his catchy, exhaustive and sometimes detailed answers to them aroused our envy and admiration.
    I remember though that the number of fans at the end of the lecture was microscopic and those who wanted to escape in the last minutes would be entitled, ex-cathedra, to a personal address, such as: Wait, there is time to purchase tickets for the first or second show, and this to the sound of bursts of laughter in the mesmerized audience.
    Later, after he had published his fascinating article "Hadrianus the Wandering", the dilettante, I brought before him an assistant in the form of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananiah, Bar Haplogata, the antagonist, of President Rabbi Gamliel, and who is said to have argued several times with Hadrianus on spiritual matters, as Hadrianus used to do. in Alexandria.
    Prof. Yavetz thanked me and noted that in preparation for the translation of his above-mentioned article into Italian, he would thank me for a special reference.
    Indeed Dabdin and Leo forget

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