Dan, Uri 1935–2006

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Dan, Uri 1935–2006

(Ben Dan, a joint pseudonym)

PERSONAL:

Born May 6, 1935, in Tel Aviv, Israel; died of lung cancer, December 24, 2006, in Kfar Saba, Israel; married; wife's name Varna; children: Oron.

CAREER:

Writer, journalist; Israel Defense Force newspaper, Israel, reporter, starting 1954; Ma'ariv, Brussels, Belgium, war correspondent; New York Post, New York, NY, reporter, Middle East correspondent for more than twenty-five years; Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Israel, columnist, 1994-2006.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Overseas Press Club Award for Best Magazine Interpretation of Foreign Affairs, for the series ‘The Untold Story of the Mideast Peace Talks,’ written for the New York Times magazine, 1979.

WRITINGS:

(With others) De Gaulle Contre Israel, Éditions et publications premieres (Paris, France), 1969.

Rosh Gesher, 1975.

Etsba Elohim, 1976.

(Contributor) William Stevenson 90 Minutes at Entebbe, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1976.

Kiesher ha-uranyum, 1977.

(With Dennis Eisenberg and Eli Landau) The Mossad Inside Stories: Israel's Secret Intelligence Service, Paddington Press (New York, NY), 1978.

(With Dennis Eisenberg and Eli Landau) Meyer Lansky: Mogul of the Mob, Paddington Press (New York, NY), 1979.

Mivtsaè Gome, [Tel Aviv, Israel], 1981.

(With Piter Man) Aikhman Be-yadai!, Revivim (Tel Aviv, Israel), 1983.

(With Ben Porat) Opération Babylone, Balland (Paris, France), 1986.

Blood Libel: The Inside Story of General Ariel Sharon's History-making Suit against Time Magazine, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

To the Promised Land: The Birth of Israel, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1988.

Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Ariel Sharon) Entretiens intimes avec Uri Dan, Lafon (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Post.

WITH YESHAYU BEN PORAT, UNDER JOINT PSEUDONYM BEN DAN

L'Espion qui venait d'Israel: L'Affaire Elie Cohen, A. Fayard (Paris, France), 1967, published as The Spy from Israel, Mitchell (London, England), 1969.

Embargo: Miraz' neged mid, Ramat-gan (Masadah, Israel), 1968.

Poker d'espirons à Tel Aviv et au Caire, Fayard (Paris, France), 1970.

SIDELIGHTS:

Uri Dan was born May 6, 1935, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Over the course of his career as a writer and journalist, Dan wrote for a wide range of outlets, including the Israel Defense Force newspaper, Ma'ariv, and the New York Post, the last of which he worked for as a Middle East correspondent out of Israel for twenty-five years. He also wrote for the Jerusalem Post. In 1979, Dan was awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Magazine Interpretation of Foreign Affairs, for the series ‘The Untold Story of the Mideast Peace Talks,’ which appeared in the New York Times magazine section. His writing helped to chronicle the development of the political situation in the Middle East over the latter half of the twentieth century, and he was ultimately considered one of the finest journalists of his time.

Beyond his writing skill, Dan was known for his close relationship with Ariel Sharon, whom he met when Sharon was still a young officer in the Israeli army. Their close friendship enabled Dan to chronicle Sharon's rise to power through the Israeli government with the advantage of an insider's perspective. That perspective also allowed him a clearer view of the situation in Israel, and of Israel's position in the global arena. Seth Lipsky, writing about Dan's relationship with Sharon for the New York Sun Online Web site, commented: ‘Dan's role seemed a bit murky. Was he an adviser to the defense minister or merely a journalist covering him or simply a friend? He turned out to be all three."

Dan became known as a journalist with the uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time, frequently scooping other reporters when it came to important news releases, such as the appointment of Mikhail Gorbachev to lead the Soviet Union. But ultimately, he remained primarily an expert on the Middle East and the political players in that part of the world. He wrote several books on Ariel Sharon, making good use of his access, including Blood Libel: The Inside Story of General Ariel Sharon's History-making Suit against Time Magazine and Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait. The latter was published and reached bookshelves in the wake of Sharon's stroke and coma, and just weeks before Uri Dan himself passed away, and was therefore made all the more powerful by its timing. In it, Dan looks at Sharon's life and career, but also addresses questions such as the diverse opinions held regarding Sharon, running the range from adoration to hatred. A contributor for the Israeli Media Web site described the relationship by stating that ‘in addition to devoting numerous articles and books to the documentation of Sharon's life and career, Dan also served the general-politician as a spokesperson and unabashed supporter,’ bringing into question Dan's objectivity. Dan's support overall colors the book. A reviewer for the Economist noted that Sharon's decisions often met with criticism, particularly in relation to cases such as the Lebanese massacre at Sabra and Shatilla in 1982: ‘Mr. Dan quotes mainly his good friend's protestations of innocence.’ The reviewer noted, however, that the book offers context for Sharon's life, and there is where it offers the best, most logical service to readers. Lipsky summed up Dan's approach to Sharon by stating: ‘Dan was not a partisan of disengagement, but he hung back from public criticism of his great friend, taking up his differences in private."

Dan wrote a number of other books under his own name, and also cowrote several volumes with Yeshayahu Ben Porat, using the combined name of Ben Dan. Uri Dan died on December 24, 2006, in Kfar Saba, Israel, from lung cancer, at the age of seventy-one.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Economist, August 8, 1987, review of Blood Libel: The Inside Story of General Ariel Sharon's History-making Suit against Time Magazine, p. 80; December 16, 2006, ‘Lights and Shades: Ariel Sharon,’ p. 85.

Library Journal, May 1, 1987, Kenneth F. Kister, review of Blood Libel, p. 66; May 1, 1988, Carol R. Glatt, review of To the Promised Land: The Birth of Israel, p. 78.

New Republic, January 19, 1980, David Singer, review of Meyer Lansky: Mogul of the Mob, p. 36.

Publishers Weekly, February 6, 1987, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Blood Libel, p. 82.

Reference & Research Book News, October, 1988, review of To the Promised Land, p. 5.

Southwestern University Law Review, summer, 1988, review of Blood Libel.

ONLINE

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (November 17, 2007).

New York Sun Online,http://www.nysun.com/ (December 26, 2006), Seth Lipsky, ‘A Hero in His Own Right."

OBITUARIES

ONLINE

Israeli Media,http://www.israeliinsider.com/ (December 25, 2006), ‘Journalist Uri Dan Dies but His ‘Umbilical Cord’ Lives On—as Vegetable."

Jerusalem Post Online,http://www.jpost.com/ (December 24, 2006), Tovah Lazaroff, ‘Post Columnist Uri Dan Dies at 71."

New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (December 25, 2006), ‘Uri Dan, 71, Israeli Reporter and Sharon Ally, Dies."

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Dan, Uri 1935–2006

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