Jimmy Savile came to my batmitzvah
By Jessica Elgot, November 3, 2011
He claimed to have "invented the disco", but Sir Jimmy Savile, the DJ and presenter who died last weekend, also claimed to have done his bit towards peace in the Middle East. Sir Jimmy always said he had berated the Israeli Cabinet in 1975 for being too soft after the Six Day War.
The bling-loving Leeds-born presenter of Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops...was a strong supporter of Israel and through fun runs, marathons and personal appearances, raised funds for many charities including WIZO, Ravenswood, and the British Friends of the Laniado Hospital in Netanya.
His ten-day visit to Israel in 1975, when he met President Ephraim Katzir and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, was organised by John Levy of the Friends of Israel Educational Trust.
Sir Jimmy recalled his advice to the Israelis: "I arrived at this reception. The president came to me and asked how I was enjoying my visit. I said I was very disappointed: the Israelis had won the Six Day War but they had given back all the land, including the only oil well in the region, and were now paying the Egyptians more for oil than if they had bought it from Saudi Arabia.
"I said: 'You have forgotten to be Jewish'. He said: 'Would you like to tell my cabinet that?' Next morning, I went to the Knesset; they interrupted a cabinet meeting and I told them the same as I had told him."
Mr Levy recalled: "He was a gorgeous, impish, creative character. Of course, he was an egomaniac, but he was incredibly generous. He wanted to film us walking from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, so there are these scenes trudging the Judean Hills. He had many close Jewish friends, he was a real philosemite. When we returned, I asked him to be a 'Friend' of the Trust and he insisted that I listed him as 'Special Friend'."
Full report in Jewish Chronicle 3 November 2011