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Farewell to Robert Rosenberg - Pioneer of Internet for Peace

10/26/2006

Robert Rosenberg, the tireless, ingenious and fearless journalist and pioneer of Internet for peace, was struck down by cancer and is dead at 54.

In addition to his illustrious career as a journalist, Robert blazed the way for Israeli peace activism on the web with Ariga for peace,(http://www.ariga.com/peace). He was generous enough to host Web pages of other people and organizations, including that of the PEACE group which preceded MidEastWeb (see PeaceWatch). Robert was a founding member of MidEastWeb for Coexistence, and Ariga was the major inspiration for MidEastWeb.

Almost to the end, Robert edited a daily news summary that reflected his genius at singling out the important events of the day, as well as his unique view of the Middle East.

In Haaretz, David Landau, currently editor in Chief of Haaretz and formerly editor of Ha'aretz' English edition wrote:

Many, many were the nights when without Robert this paper would not have come out. Or at any rate, that is how it most certainly seemed to us, his colleagues at Haaretz English Edition, as we squeaked past another after-midnight deadline with reams and reams of raw Haaretz copy all somehow translated, edited, page-set and sent to press.

His output was truly phenomenal. His capacity vast; his knowledge encyclopedic. Uncomplaining, with breathtaking speed, with unfailing good grace, he would wade through troughs of dense prose, written to fill whole pages of Hebrew newsprint, and emerge with a succinct, coherent story often capped with a cute or sardonic headline for good measure.

The man was a joy to have around. He was a relief to have around - because you knew that with him the inevitable nightly crises would somehow be resolved. He was often a headache to have around, because, while doing his speed-reading, speed-writing, speed headline-composing and speed-laying-out he would be treating all those within earshot to a cheery, incessant, unquenchable patter of opinion. Sometimes it was about the story in hand. But often it would be about something completely different -- which made his expeditious progress on the text all the more amazing. He liked to have the television blaring in the background, too - usually about still another subject. Robert, who was a decade ahead of his time on the Internet, was the consummate multitasker before the rest of us had heard of the concept.
...
But above all, and at this moment of hesed shel emet when only the truth should be written, it is Robert Rosenberg's good-heartedness that deserves words of praise and admiration. For more than 30 years I would hear him criticizing the whole world. But I never heard him say a bad word to anyone. He was full of kindness. That, as we are told (Avot 2,9), caps everything.


Robert's pioneering work in Ariga were generally studiously and deliberately ignored by Israeli media and "big time" peace organizations, even by some whom he had helped along the way. His death is a great loss to the cause of peace, to Israel and to the Middle East, as well as a personal loss for me.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000528.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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