By James Marlow

News of the passing of Eric Graus passing away on Monday morning aged 91 was greeted with deep sadness. Eric was a champion of the Zionist movement in the UK but perhaps he was best known for his work in the seventies highlighting Soviet Jewry and the long prison sentences they received for simply wishing to emigrate to Israel.

His struggles of that era are well documented in the ‘Days of Action’ book compiled by his friend and comrade-in-arms, Joe Gellert who now lives in Netanya. But one of Eric’s greatest joys was when Menachem Begin finally came to power as Prime Minister in 1977 after being in opposition since the birth of the modern state.

Eric remembers with pride when the Likud leader made his first official visit to England and the many dinners he spent with not just Menachem Begin, but Prime Minister’s Yitzhak Shamir and Binyamin Netanyahu. This writer was present with Eric on the night Binyamin Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister for the first time in 1996 although the result was not known until the morning and Eric was over the moon.

There will be a full obituary on Eric Graus z”l in next week’s edition.