Our Israeli Diary

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Pages: 176
Subject: Biography, History
Imprint: Oneworld
Illustrations: 8-page colour plate section

Our Israeli Diary

Of That Time, Of That Place

Antonia Fraser

The long-lost 1978 diary charting Antonia Fraser and Harold Pinter's only visit to Israel is an enchanting document of a time, a place and two people

The Book

In May 1978 Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser visited Israel at the time of the 30th Anniversary of Independence. It was three years after they first lived together; neither had set foot in Israel before. Based in Jerusalem, they toured many of the country's historic sites: from Bethlehem to the fortress of Masada, encountering future Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, Jackie Kennedy and a long-lost cousin of Harold's on a kibbutz. It was a trip during which Pinter's feelings about his heritage emerged for the first time. As he said himself: ‘For the first time I feel Jewish'.

This diary was kept daily by Antonia Fraser: the vivid narrative and descriptions (Antonia swimming in the Dead Sea while Harold had a beer) are leavened with humour, occasionally wry where Harold's quirks were concerned, and always tender. Above all, it is a unique picture of a time and place - and a touching insight into fifteen days in the lives of two writers, one Jewish, one Catholic, one a playwright and one a biographer, who were also a devoted couple.

Additional Information

Subject Biography, History
Pages 176
Imprint Oneworld
Illustrations 8-page colour plate section


About the Author

Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed, internationally bestselling works of historical non-fiction. She has received many awards for her writing, including the Wolfson History Prize, the Norton Medlicott Medal of the Historical Association and the James Tait Black Prize for Biography. In 2011 she was made a DBE for services to literature. She lives in Kensington, London.


‘A compelling mixture of charm, humour and wisdom.’


‘A little gem of a book that offers a snapshot of Israel 30 years after independence; sharp insights into a range of characters from Shimon Peres to Jackie Kennedy.'

- Jewish Chronicle

‘Engaging…above all an interesting account of a time and a place.'

- Financial Times

‘Wise and witty…Fraser's personality shines through here: ever curious, good-natured, with an ear for memorable one-liners.'

- Observer

‘Rather fun…unguarded, unpolished and often quite funny.'

- Telegraph

‘...a fabulous book...[Antonia Fraser is] a natural-born conjuror of lost realities... Exemplary, unparalleled, and peerless.'

- Sebastian Barry