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Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof
Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof
In the Name of Sorrow and Hope
ISBN: 0679450793
In the Name of Sorrow and Hope
Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof, only granddaughter of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, discussed her book, “In the Name of Sorrow and Hope,” published by Alfred A. Knopf. She gained international recognition when she read her "last letter" to her grandfather at his funeral. In the book, written when she was only 19, she reminisced about her childhood in Israel, her family, and her grandfather. The book details Prime Minister Rabin's evolution from soldier to Middle East peacemaker. It continues through to the leader's 1995 assassination by a member of the militant Israeli right wing. Ms. Ben Artzi-Pelossof reflected on her experiences as a young Israeli woman. Now a member of the Israeli army, she also talked about extremism in the Middle East, the political climate which resulted in her grandfather's death, and her hopes for peace.
In the Name of Sorrow and Hope
Program Air Date: May 26, 1996

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: At the very beginning, let me ask you the correct way to pronounce your name.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof.
LAMB: Explain that full name. Where does it all come from?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: OK. "Noa" is my first name, "Ben Artzi" is my father's name and "Pelossof" is my stepfather's name.
LAMB: And how long have you had a stepfather?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My mom lived with my stepfather since I'm five years old.
LAMB: And how old are you?
LAMB: When did you first think about writing this book?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't think that any 19 year old wakes up in the morning and say, "Today I'm going to write a book. I'm quite bored, so today's going to be the day that I'll write my book." No. I got an offer to do so, and I needed some time to think about it because it's not that easy. You need a lot of courage to decide this kind of decision, and you need a lot of support, which I had from my family. And then I decided to go for it.
LAMB: Do you remember -- your grandfather was shot in early November 1995.
LAMB: When did you start working on this?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Middle of December.
LAMB: Was it an American publisher that wanted it or an Israeli publisher?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, the French. The French.
LAMB: The French? Why the French?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: They were the first one to come.
LAMB: And what did they want you to do?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: To write a book about my grandfather in my, as they said, "special voice."
LAMB: What's that mean?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: That means that I will tell, as I saw it, the story of my grandfather, the man, the human side, because there was a lot that has been said about Yitzhak Rabin the politician, peacemaker, soldier, prime minister, and nothing was said about the man, about my grandfather. And second, there was the thing that they thought that it could be good to hear a young Israeli voice. My second thought was of the therapy -- deal with my emotions. And as third, the young Israeli voice.
LAMB: This is about 181 pages. Was it hard to do?
LAMB: How did you do it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: First of all, I had an editor from the French company, Suzanne Alaya, and we worked together to shape the book, in means of chapters, and, let's say, to measure what's going to be in what chapter. And then I sat down to write it, and I wrote it in Hebrew. And then it was translated, and I had to check the translation because this is a book that I'm signed on, and it's going to be something that will escort me for years, and I don't want to make it, you know, like this. I want to make it -- although I did it quick, it's not like I didn't think about it and I didn't pay attention to everything that was going in the book. So I had to check carefully the translation, and to check that nothing had been changed because of misunderstanding of language. And that's it.
LAMB: Where do you live permanently?
LAMB: What town?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I live with my mother and stepfather in Herzeliyya, but since what happened, I'm staying five and six nights a week at my grandma's.
LAMB: Where does your grandma live?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: In Tel Aviv -- she lives in Ramat Aviv, which is a suburb of Tel Aviv, and it is 10 minutes'drive from my home.
LAMB: Are you still in the military?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: That's right. I still have one year to go in the military.
LAMB: Why do all young people in Israel have to serve in the military?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Because this is an obligatory service. Mandatory. That's the way you say it? But it's also essential to the existence of the Israeli nation.
LAMB: And what do you have to do? How long do you have to serve?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The girls serve with the army for 19 months and boys for three years.
LAMB: When did you first go in?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I joined the army on August 15th, 1995.
LAMB: You tell us in the book a little bit about basic training.
LAMB: What was it like?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No big fun. It was difficult in terms of discipline, because you have to wake up 5:00 in the morning and be downstairs, three floors, no elevator, and showered, dressed and prepared for the day in seven minutes.
LAMB: And you say throughout the book, from time to time, that you've always been known as Yitzhak Rabin's granddaughter.
LAMB: How does that work in the service? Do people all say, "Oh, there she is over there"?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, no. The thing is that I wasn't so recognized in the street. Where I come from, my environment, my friends, my school, people knew, but it wasn't like I was walking down the street and people said, "This is the granddaughter." It's not like Chelsea Clinton. Nobody knew me. But in the service, there was one girl to find out, because I looked familiar, and then she asked, and then she find out who I was, and then they took, like, five days or four days, and all the girls knew who I was. But the thing is that it's a question of attitude. How you perform yourself, how you present yourself. And if you're first of all no one -- then related in terms of, let's say, Rabin's granddaughter -- so it's OK. It depends on you.
LAMB: For someone who's never heard of Yitzhak Rabin, who was he?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: He was a great man. He was a man of honesty, of wisdom, of modesty.
LAMB: Where was he born?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My grandfather was born in Jerusalem.
LAMB: How about your grandmother?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My grandma was born in Germany, but she came to Israel when she was five years old.
LAMB: What different jobs did your grandfather have in his life?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Mainly military jobs. He grew up in Tel Aviv, and he joined -- he went to boarding school, Kaduli. It was agriculture school and he thought of becoming a water engineering, but then the battle for the establishment of Israel had started, and he joined the PALMACH, and he fought for the established of Israel.
LAMB: What was the PALMACH?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: PALMACH is initials. This is what you say?
LAMB: No, what does it mean? P A L M A C H.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's in Hebrew. It's PALMACH. [Speaking in Hebrew] It's a ...
LAMB: What was the purpose of the organization?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The purpose was to fight for the establishment of the state of Israel.
LAMB: When was he ambassador to the United States?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: After '60 -- after the war of '67. He was the chief of staff during the war. And after the war, when he was the great hero of the war, he came to Levishkol and he said, "Well, I want to be the ambassador to Washington." And this happened in '68.
LAMB: And how long was he the prime minister?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: For the first time, he was elected in '74 and resigned in '77, and then came back to office in '92 and was assassinated in 1995.
LAMB: What's your grandma like?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My grandma's fabulous. She's amazing.
LAMB: What does that mean?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: She's a very intelligent woman, very strong one, very impressive one. She lived with my grandpa for 47 years, which is a lot of time, and she never was the little woman waiting at home. Although she was his wife, full time wife, she always had things to do on her own, and although she never had a profession, because my grandfather wanted her to be at home because he was never at home -- although he was a great father to his children, he didn't spend a lot of time at home. So she did.
LAMB: In this picture I just showed is also, I think, your brother. Is he in this picture right here?
LAMB: Is this him right here?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, that's my uncle.
LAMB: Is this your brother there?
LAMB: Where is your brother, and how old is he?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My brother's my age. He's turning -- he's 21 and a half. He just graduated from the army in November. He worked as a bartender in a restaurant since then, and he's about to come to his tour in the States and Central America for five months.
LAMB: What will he do? When he comes here, what will he do?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Just travel. Before university.
LAMB: How does someone like you, who's in the military, get to write a book and travel around the world to talk about it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I got special permission from the army.
LAMB: How long will you spend doing that, total number of weeks?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Four weeks -- just the book tour. But this is the time that I got the permission to leave the country for, and I'm paying it back at the end of the service, including the two weeks I took to write the book in Paris. So it makes it six weeks at the end of my service.
LAMB: So you actually wrote the book, physically, in Paris?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Some of the time in Paris, and mainly in Paris because when I was writing it at home in Israel, I wrote it on the computer, and I wrote it during the nights. And then most of the improvements and rewriting and all the stuff which is really making those chapters into a book were in Paris, yeah.
LAMB: Was it a tough decision to write about things like your mother's divorce?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. It wasn't easy, but as I'm saying, the main purpose of the book is to deliver a clearer picture of my grandfather and what kind of a man he was. And discussing family issues like the divorce of my parents is the things that I think I have to give to the reader, because I'm keeping honesty with them. I'm honest.
LAMB: Where is your father now?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My father, he lives in Herzeliyya, not far from us.
LAMB: And you say in the book that he was wounded in the war?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Not in war, practicing.
LAMB: Practicing. And is he still feeling the effects of that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: He's OK. He recovered.
LAMB: Totally recovered?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. He was half body paralyzed.
LAMB: What year was this?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It happened just before I was born, when my mom was pregnant with me. It was '76.
LAMB: And this is a picture of your stepfather, I believe, and your mother.
LAMB: What's your mother like?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My mother's -- she's amazing. She's very intelligent. She's a lawyer. She's the best mom in the world.
LAMB: And what's your stepfather like?
LAMB: And in all this publicity you've had, in all this attention, have you all stayed together? Has it been hard, through this assassination and all? I mean, how do you do as a family? Do you get together more often than you used to?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: If you read in the book, I say that we are like a Sicilian Mafia because we're very united and very together. And I wouldn't write this book without their support and help. And since the assassination, we're a lot together.
LAMB: What's been the hardest part of the last several months?
LAMB: What was the hardest part of writing the book?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The book was difficult in many terms. It was difficult to get your thoughts together and deliver it as a book. But as I told you, it was a great therapy for me, because it helped me dealing with my emotions and and just messing around with my own thoughts and feelings.
LAMB: You talked about your hands in the book.
LAMB: So you don't like your hands.
LAMB: Why?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Because they're ugly. Just because.
LAMB: You say they're small, full of freckles ...
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: They're small, full of freckles, and they're fat.
LAMB: Why did you feel the need to write about that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Ah, because they're really similar to my grandpa's.
LAMB: Same shape, same size?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Same shape. But -- they're a bit smaller, I guess, but because they are really small, but they're like his.
LAMB: Now how often did you travel with your grandfather in your life?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: How often? Not that often. I traveled with him, as I remember, three times. One was in 1988, when he was Minister of Defense, and I came to the States with him. One was in 1993 when we went to Auschwitz together. And a third time was -- actually, the second was 1992 -- his first visit to the United States, and we met up here and in New York, actually.
LAMB: What was the trip to Poland about?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: This is where we went to Auschwitz. This was a delegation that symbolized 50 years to the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto, and it was a very interesting one, the visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau. This was very interesting.
LAMB: Would you say that -- to somebody your age -- that the Holocaust, at least up until that point, didn't mean anything to you?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, that's not true. That's not what I said.
LAMB: Well, you said that you had had the same reaction as the older people.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. You learn a lot about it in school, so it becomes sort of a chapter of history. But when you're actually there, it's more alive. It's more -- you feel it. You feel where it happened and what happened, and then you see that you can't measure how huge the Holocaust and the damage of the Holocaust was, as I said.
LAMB: Yeah, I remember one line. You say that, "Strangely, until then, Sabbah" -- who was ...?
LAMB: Is that a nickname?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, "sabbah" is grandpa in Hebrew.
LAMB: You say that "Sabbah and I had never discussed the Holocaust."
LAMB: And then later you say -- you'd met Lech Walesa. What do you remember about him?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Not much. I just shook his hand.
LAMB: And Al Gore?
LAMB: The vice president, and you say that, "Again, I was not"-- not about Al Gore -- you say, "I was not impressed." You'd seen the audiovisuals show.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. I was talking about the ceremonies held the day before we went to Auschwitz, and I said that it was no different than the Holocaust memorial day in school. There was nothing to give me the feeling that it was here in Poland until we went to the camps, because until we went to the camps, it was just memorial ceremonies, OK? There were, let's say, impression. You could be impressed by it. But there was nothing too outstanding to say, "Hey, this is Poland. It happened here." And I was waiting for the feeling that -- to feel that this necessarily happened in this land. And I found the answer for it the following day in Auschwitz.
LAMB: And what was the answer? What did you see?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I saw things that actually happened there. I saw the sign [foreign language spoken] in German. And the Jews who were there prepared the sign. It is the entrance of the camp. It says that labor -- it says that work -- wait -- I don't know how to translate it to English, [foreign language spoken]. It means that if you work, you get freedom. This is the term of the expression. So the Jews in the camp were made by the Germans to prepare this sign, which was -- it was a lie, because it wasn't a camp where people came to work. It was a camp where they came to die. So the Jews who prepare it, the sign, tried to deliver a message that this is not what it is. And they wrote the B -- when you write a B like this, see, they put the big bubble with, on top of the small one, like it's not a real B so it's not the real [foreign language spoken]. But nobody could pay attention to it.

These are small things that you can see in the camp. You can see that it was there. First of all, it was very cold there, and then you feel -- then it brings you back to all the story about the Holocaust, how cold the Polish winter was. And then you are brought to the buildings, and you see the bedrooms -- so called bedrooms. And you see their pajamas, and you see the amount of shoes they collected, and the suitcases with the names, and brushes. All kind of brushes -- toothbrushes, hairbrushes, shoe polishes -- brushes. And you can see dolls from babies, and you can see people's hair. You can see glasses, a mound of stuff there, and then you feel really how unmeasurable the Holocaust is.
LAMB: Do you have any sense of why there is so much hate in the world that this kind of thing would happen?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. I can't explain.
LAMB: Do you ever talk about it at -- in school or with your friends?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I just remember asking my mom, "Where was God?" So I guess this is sort of a question that we can't find the answer to.
LAMB: How religious is Israel as a country?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: As I see it, you don't have to be religious in order to have a religion. So Israel is religious in terms of our nationality as Jewish as well. It's not only our religion. But there are a lot of non orthodox people in Israel, and there's a large group of orthodox people. And usually we get along quite well together except for the group who use religion in cynic way in order to earn political goals.
LAMB: When you sit in Israel and look at the United States, what do you feel about this country? How important is this country to the -- you know, as a person 19 years old?
LAMB: Your own survival as a country. Where does the United States fit into this? As you probably know, we spend a lot of time talking about Israel here.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I know. I know. I think that the United States is a guarantee to the freedom of Israel and the Middle East.
LAMB: Do people feel positive about the United States in Israel?
LAMB: Anything negative about our relations with you all?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No. No, not where I come from, and not as I see it.
LAMB: Where did you go to high school, or do you have high schools in Israel just like we do here?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah, of course.
LAMB: In the same kind of -- is it a four year school?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's a three year school, yeah. I went for four years because I skipped junior high school because my elementary school was until eighth grade. So I went to high school in ninth grade, graduated 12th.
LAMB: And so you -- where are you in school right now? In other words, have you finished the 12th grade and then do the military?
LAMB: And then what's next?
LAMB: Where are you going to do that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. I'm thinking out of Israel, because I don't see myself having a life outside Israel. So I think that university time is a good time to just get some air, fresh air.
LAMB: Would you come here?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I'm thinking about coming here, yeah.
LAMB: What would you like to study?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: As I see it now, political science.
LAMB: Where?
LAMB: Have you tried yet to get in?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, I didn't apply yet. I didn't do anything about it yet.
LAMB: How did you do with your school up to the 12th grade?
LAMB: Good grades. How'd you do in writing? How was your -- did you have a class in writing at all in ...
LAMB: Did you get A's? Do you have A's in Israel?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's 100. 100 and 19 -- I got 19.
LAMB: What about language? Where'd you learn how to speak English?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Mainly in school, because we take English from a very early age. And for one year I had private lessons, but -- and I watch a lot of -- I watched, when I was young, a lot of television. And this is at home, where I grew up, where a lot of guests from out of foreigner countries come to visit, so you polish your English, so ...
LAMB: Do you ever talk English just among your friends or maybe ...
LAMB: What language do you use?
LAMB: What other languages do you speak?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Only Hebrew and English, although, too, I studied Arabic for five years, but I can't remember a word of it. Just, like, "My name's Noa" in Arabic. That's it.
LAMB: What's your favorite thing about living in Israel?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Everything. The weather, the people, everything. I like my life in Israel.
LAMB: How big a country is it in population?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Five million people.
LAMB: And do you know the breakdown of how many are Arabs, how many are Jews?
LAMB: What about the government, the Knesset? Do you ever see yourself being a member of the Knesset someday?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. Never say never, right? But I don't know.
LAMB: What was it like in high school? What kind of things did you do there that -- I mean, have you had a chance to meet many American high school students, see what their lives are like?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: There's an American schoo not far away from my house, but these are consulars' and ambassadors' children-- so they come and go easily -- you know, quick. So the population is not that stable, but I got to know some Americans, but not as close friends.
LAMB: I know you mention this in the book -- that you watch MTV.
LAMB: What other things -- and eat at McDonald's?
LAMB: What other things American do you see in Israel?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: A lot of things. Israel is a developing Western country, so you can see a lot of American stuff there, but it doesn't say that we don't keep our unique things as Israelians.
LAMB: What's unique to being an Israeli?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's difficult to say. It's the people, it's the atmosphere, it's the weather. It's the language. It's many things that you can point out and say, "This is an Israeli guy." We can recognize each other.
LAMB: What's a normal night -- I mean, I kept reading in here that you were out till 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. What was that all about? Do you all party late at night over there in Israel? Is that ...
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. That's right.
LAMB: Give us a normal weekend. What do you do for fun?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: We go out to clubs, and it starts at 1 a.m. -- around 1 a.m..
LAMB: It starts at 1 a.m.. Why so late?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. That's the way it is.
LAMB: They stay open all night.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. It's like New York.
LAMB: You mean all of Israel's just like New York?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah -- I'm talking about Tel Aviv, because this is where I hang out, so ...
LAMB: Go back to your book for a moment. Where were you the night your grandfather was shot, and when did you first hear about it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I was in the rally with my brother.
LAMB: At the rally?
LAMB: Where was the rally?
LAMB: What was the purpose of the rally?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: "Say yes to peace and no to violence." And we were there, and we didn't stay till the end. We went after my grandfather's speech. And since we came back in separate cars, he reached home just five minutes before me. And when I entered the house, and I wanted to open the door, he opened the door from the inside, and it was all with the joy and the happiness and -- overwhelmed by the rally. And then I entered the home, and he was white, and I couldn't understand what happened. And my stepfather was standing beside him, and Jonathan told me Sabbah was shot. So it took 60 seconds, and we were in the car on the way to the hospital. And we didn't know what happened.
LAMB: How far was the hospital from where you were?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: First of all, we had to go to the Shabak GSS.
LAMB: What's GSS?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Our General Security Service offices, because my grandma called from there. So we went there, and she wasn't there anymore. So we went to the -- they sent us to the hospital. It all took something like a half an hour, 20 minutes, because we -- Avi, my stepfather, was driving really fast.
LAMB: When you got to the hospital -- I remember reading in your book, you had a tough time getting through the security.
LAMB: They didn't know who you were.
LAMB: That surprise you at the time?
LAMB: How did you finally get past the security?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The GSS person recognized us, because there were police officers there who didn't recognize, but GSS guys, most of them, knew us and he cleared the way for us.
LAMB: How long from the time your grandfather was shot till the time you were told that he had died?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My grandfather was shot -- I can't measure because I don't remember times. I know that we got there -- he was still operated and I think it was something like an hour that we were in the hospital, or even less, and then we were announced.
LAMB: And what is the Jewish tradition once someone is dead? How much time before they're buried?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: As soon as possible.
LAMB: And in this case, how long was it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: He died -- he passed away on the evening of the ninth, between Saturday and Sunday.
LAMB: Shot on what day?
LAMB: On Saturday.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: He died on Saturday.
LAMB: On Saturday. And then buried on ...
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Monday. They waited -- they didn't bury him on Sunday because they waited for people from all over the world to arrive to Israel.
LAMB: When did you first get asked to say something at the funeral? And who asked you?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Shimon Shevez, a friend of my grandfather and adviser and a friend of the family. He came up to me Sunday morning before we went to the Knesset because my grandfather's coffin was put in the Knesset, that people could come there and pay their last honor, this is what they say? And he came up to me at my grandma's house the morning before we went to Jerusalem and he said, "Noa, we thought about anything that we should -- you should be the family representative in the funeral."
LAMB: Why did they pick you? Do you know?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I was the talented in writing in the family.
LAMB: How much time did you have to write it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I went that evening to try and write something, but I couldn't because my head was such a mess and I had words that didn't come out as sentences, and I couldn't just write. So I came back to my grandparents' apartment and went to bed, and my mom woke me up in the morning before the funeral and said, "It's OK that you know what you want to say, but you have to write it down, because you won't be able just to speak." So I sat down and I wrote it.
LAMB: Could you read it? Would it be hard for you to read it in English?
LAMB: I've got it marked here so you can see it.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: OK. "Please excuse me for not wanting to talk about the peace. I want to talk about my grandfather. You always awake from a nightmare, but since yesterday, I have been consciously awaking to a nightmare. It is not possible to get used to the nightmare of life without you. The television never ceases" -- is this word ...?
LAMB: Where? Let's see.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I just don't know the word. I'm sorry.
LAMB: That's alright. "Ceases," right.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: "Ceases," OK -- "...ceases to broadcast pictures of you, and you are so alive that I can almost touch you, but only almost, and I won't be able to anymore."
LAMB: Continue -- read on.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: "Grandfather, you were the pillar of fire in front of the camp, and now we are left in the camp alone, and in the dark, and we are so cold and so sad. I know that people talk in terms of national tragedy, and of comforting an entire nation. But we feel the huge void that remains in your absence when Grandmother doesn't stop crying. Few people really knew you. Now they will talk about you for quite some time, but I feel that they really don't know just how great the pain is, how great the tragedy is. Something has been destroyed."
LAMB: Keep on. Sure.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: "Grandfather..."
LAMB: Are you alright reading? Is it OK? I mean, if you want to, finish it to the end.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: You want me to finish it to the end?
LAMB: Yeah. Go ahead.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: "Grandfather, you were and still are a hero. I want you to know that every time I did anything, I saw you in front of me. Your appreciation and your love accompanied us every step down the road, and our lives were always shaped by your values. You, who never abandoned anything, are now abandoned. And here you are, my ever present hero, cold, alone, and I cannot do anything to save you. You are missed so much. Others greater than I have already ..."
LAMB: Where is it? "Eulogized."
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: "Eulogized." Right, OK -- "...eulogized you, but none of them ever had the pleasure I had to feel the caresses of your arms, your soft hands; to merit your warm handprints that was reserved only for us." It's too difficult for me to continue.
LAMB: OK. Were you surprised at what the reaction was to this? Did you have any idea that you would have ...?
LAMB: And you say that you got so many letters that you couldn't write this book until you read all those letters. Do you have any idea of how many letters you got from around the world?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Couple of hundreds.
LAMB: What'd they say?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: They were really personal. This is why I couldn't answer them all, because there were huge amounts of them, and just to write a typed note -- to send a typed note to all those people wouldn't be the right answer for those letters, because they were so personal.
LAMB: What are you -- are you going to eventually answer them, or ...?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I think so. Even if it takes me two years, I'll answer them.
LAMB: What do you think the impact will be on Israel because your grandfather was assassinated? Do you see any positive coming out of it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's too horrible for me to think that something positive will come of it.
LAMB: What are the chances that -- do you think -- that there'll be a lasting peace? Because one of the things you talk a lot about in here is peace in Israel. Do you have any hope?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Of course. I think my grandfather led us into a road, which is one way road, and a concrete road, to my happiness, and the final result, whatever happens on the way, will be peace.
LAMB: You say -- here's a quote. "You were the only one who knew how to talk to your grandfather." Do you remember who said that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: President Clinton.
LAMB: When did he say that to you?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Is this an exam? In the funeral.
LAMB: Did it surprise you when he came up to you and said that?
LAMB: How did he know that you were the only one who knew how to talk to your grandfather?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: This is how he felt.
LAMB: He just surmised it?
LAMB: How much contact over the last couple years have you had with President Clinton?
LAMB: None at all?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No. Just after the assassination, when he came to Israel and he went to my grandpa's grave. He wanted the whole family to accompany him.
LAMB: To the grave.
LAMB: You were also present when Mr. Arafat came to visit your grandmother.
LAMB: Tell us about that. When did it happen?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It happened during the seven days of mourning. And he came to the house. The house was cleared from people. They said that the family is very tired and we're going to bed, because of security reasons. And he arrived dressed as a private detective with a long raincoat and a bright scarf and a hat and thick glasses, and he seemed like a Polish uncle.
LAMB: How long did he stay?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I guess something around 45 minutes.
LAMB: Did you talk to him personally?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No. I was too embarrassed and too amazed to say anything. I just listened.
LAMB: What were you amazed about?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The fact that this enemy -- former enemy and future friend -- is coming to our house.
LAMB: What did he say to your grandmother?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: He talked really warmly about my grandfather. He used very warm words and expressions. He called my grandma, "My sister."
LAMB: Did that surprise you?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It was very kind of him. He was very nice. And this actually was my surprise, that behind this monster that we were describing all those years, there was a man, and a nice one.
LAMB: What was your reaction when he left, among your family?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It was the surprise, I told you that -- and the admiration to my grandfather, who had succeeded to make this man, to turn him from an enemy to a person who'd come to the house.
LAMB: Did your grandfather spend any time teaching you about what Israel is all about over the years you were with him?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't think he had to. I think those are things that you leak through the years. You get them from a very early age, and you don't have to talk clearly about it because you get the idea from everything that's been said and everything that you do and everything in our life in Israel.
LAMB: When you -- what year was it that you you were one of 64 young people chosen to go around the world to tell the Israeli story? What year was that?
LAMB: And how did that happen?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I went to the exams, I applied for the delegation, and I got in, and there were 64 of us in pairs -- 32 pairs.
LAMB: And who was your pair?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: And we were spread around the world. I was sent to -- we were sent to England.
LAMB: Who's the other person?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Donah Latt. He's a very nice boy from Jerusalem.
LAMB: And what did you do? Where did you go, and how long were you there?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: We were there for a month.
LAMB: Where?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: In Manchester, London and Oxford.
LAMB: What did you do for that month?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: We held discussions and sessions with teenagers our age in England about Israel.
LAMB: Had you ever been to England before?
LAMB: And what did you find among your fellow students in England?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: That they knew very little about Israel.
LAMB: What did they know?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Not a lot. Just it's a Jewish country, that's it. And they had things in mind, like we were driving camels and we were very orthodox, and things that are not true.
LAMB: What was the first question you always got?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: We didn't start with a question; we started with our presentation. So we, first of all, gave general facts about the country -- its size, amount of people, attractive places -- and then told about our lives as teenagers, throughout what we do when we go out, what we do as hobbies, habits, and stuff like this, and the differences -- which are not so big -- in the educational system. And then comes the time when we go to the army, and then if the audience was interested in politics, this is the part where they could ask the political questions. And from there it was an open session.
LAMB: You write about the number of wars you've been through.
LAMB: How many?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The whole is three, but the Intifadah is not a war.
LAMB: What was the Intifadah? What was it?
LAMB: Yeah. Explain what -- I mean, I know you include that in your list of where you saw violence and all. Explain what the Intifadah was.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: The Palestinians' resistance to the Israeli occupation.
LAMB: And how much of that did you see personally?
LAMB: Was your brother in the service during any of the Intifadah? Did he ...?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No. He joined the army in 1992.
LAMB: You went through the Iraqi war, SCUD missiles.
LAMB: Where were you?
LAMB: What did you do during that time?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I sat in the shelter.
LAMB: Where was the shelter?
LAMB: How would it work? In other words, you had the gas masks and all that?
LAMB: Where was your grandfather during all this time?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My grandfather never used his gas mask because he said that the Iraqis would never use chemical weapons against us.
LAMB: Did that surprise you, that he wouldn't put a gas mask on?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No. This was him. It didn't surprise me.
LAMB: So what did you do as a family?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It was fun as family, actually.
LAMB: Fun?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah, because none of the people who I know went to the front lines, because Israel had nothing to do with this war. We just were a bump. So what happened was that we had very nice, long family evenings, and we had a lot of popcorn and backgammon and Monopoly.
LAMB: Did you put the gas masks on? Did you put the gas masks on?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: During the alarms, yeah.
LAMB: Did you ever see anything to do with a SCUD missile?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: My parent -- my parents found a piece of SCUD missile in the backyard of the house, but they never told my brother and I until two months afterwards or something like this.
LAMB: You say in your book that you've lived a privileged life. What does that mean?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I lived in a very comfortable environment. I was quite spoiled. I never had to do anything.
LAMB: What do you mean by "do anything"? Never had to work or ...?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Work or prove myself or -- my family, my parents, my grandparents, my brother -- everybody were nice to me, everybody loved me. I didn't have any problems -- those kind of problems, thanks God. Although times weren't easy, always had time for me, and I always felt loved and always appreciated and educated, and this is a privileged environment, I guess.
LAMB: Do you get any feeling about where you'd like to end up? I mean, are you going to live your life in Israel?
LAMB: What do you think you'll be doing in 10 years?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. I really don't know.
LAMB: Can you knock it down to two or three possibilities?
LAMB: Not at all? After having written this book, would you want to do some more writing?
LAMB: Why?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's difficult. It's difficult, and I'm too young to write another one. I still have a few years to decide if I want to do it or not. I enjoyed writing this book. It was good for me, I think.
LAMB: Did you write it all yourself?
LAMB: How much help did you have in the editing process, and did you feel that people let you say exactly what you want to say?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. I was very difficult on this part, because I never let anyone to change what I want to say.
LAMB: Did you ever fight with the editors?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Sometimes, yeah.
LAMB: What would they want to change?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: They want to add some details which I thought were too romantic, or stuff like this, which I didn't like, because I want this book to be authentic and not nostalgic, and I think I did it.
LAMB: How is it selling? How is it selling?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. I still don't know.
LAMB: When you go back home, or maybe by telephone, you talk to your grandmother, your mother, what do you tell them so far about the experience of being on a book tour like this?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It sure is an experience that not all 19 years old have, but it's difficult. My mom's with me.
LAMB: And what do you tell your grandmother? What's difficult about this experience?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Interviews, the time, and sometimes you have to repeat the same answers, and sometimes you just want to freak out of your mind because you just had it. But I'm behaving myself.
LAMB: You mean -- are we seeing you really controlled in this environment? I mean, if this were you back home, would you be this ...
LAMB: Would you be this patient?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I can't promise you. I can only invite you to Israel, and you check for yourself.
LAMB: You say back in 1994 that you participated in a live television program with young people.
LAMB: What was that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: About the peace signing, the assignment of peace with the Jordanians.
LAMB: Who put it on?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Who was the host?
LAMB: Yeah. Who was it? Whose idea was it? What was the purpose of the program?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. It was probably rating. I don't know. The host was Dan Shilon. He's a well known figure in Israel. LAMB: Speaking of host, there is another host, though, that you mention in here. Is it Gotte Goff? Is that the way you pronounce it?
LAMB: Gitte Goff.
LAMB: Who is he?
LAMB: What does that mean, cool?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: He's nice. He's a figure in Israel. He's a singer, he's an actor, he's a TV host.
LAMB: And how do you know him? You met him somewhere, and then you saw him later at a rally, is that right?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah, that's right. We met at the wedding of the family's doctor and his new wife, who is a producer. And they were married, and then they had a wedding reception, and Gitte Goff was there, and Jonathan and -- always admired him.
LAMB: You -- your brother.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. So he went up to him -- and Jonathan is very funny. He came up to him and said, "You will never make a politician because every time you're moving around, I'm trying to deliver some warm waves, and you don't get them. So you'll never make a politician." So he said, "This is the adventures of us show biz people, and you, the politicians, because we can ignore you." And from there it developed a very nice conversation, and then we met him in the rally, the peace rally, and he was one of the last people who met my grandfather.
LAMB: When you appeared on television back in 1994 in this discussion, you had Arab young people with you?
LAMB: And -- what's an Israeli Arab?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's an Arab Israeli. This is a person whose nationality is Arabic and he lives in Israel.
LAMB: But you say in here that Israeli Arabs don't have the same responsibility that you do in the military. They don't have to serve in the military.
LAMB: Why is that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Because they sometimes have to fight with their brothers, let's say, from Syria, from Lebanon, from, at times, Egypt and Jordan.
LAMB: Can they vote?
LAMB: At what age do you vote in Israel?
LAMB: Have you voted yet, first time?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I just turned 19, so I couldn't vote.
LAMB: This next election, then, is your first time ever to vote.
LAMB: Will you vote?
LAMB: Some of the questions that were asked in this television program were "How would you define heroism?"
LAMB: And "what does peace mean to you?" Well, let's go back to that first question. How do you define heroism?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: What I said there was that heroism is to take decision, which is a breakout -- breakthrough, and to take responsibility upon it even if it's a failure.
LAMB: Second question was: "What does peace mean to you? "
LAMB: How did you answer that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I said that it's to visit the neighbors, right? That's what I said.
LAMB: "I remember my reply: It means not having to worry about the men ..."
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah, not having to worry about people who are fighting the borders, and maybe someday to take a bus and go to Aqaba.
LAMB: What is television like in Israel? How much of it do you have?
LAMB: There used to be just one channel.
LAMB: What is it like now?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's many channels. And we have the second channel, which is private. The first is national. And we have the third, which is cable's; and fourth, which is movies; and sixth, which is kids. Five is sports. And we have cable from all over the world.
LAMB: What do you watch?
LAMB: Why?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Because I just kind of had it with the talk shows.
LAMB: The talk shows.
LAMB: There are a lot of talk shows on Israeli television?
LAMB: You get tired of it all?
LAMB: Are you getting tired of talking in this interview yet?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, not yet. I'm talkative. It's OK.
LAMB: You like to talk?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah. Stop me if I'm giving you a headache.
LAMB: No, you're not. But going back to the television, the reason I ask you that is because you, when you went in the army, said that you wanted to work at the army radio station.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: But they didn't want me to work there.
LAMB: Yeah, but it was an interesting point because of -- all through the book you talk about being Rabin's granddaughter, and then you were worried about being treated special, but you didn't get what you wanted when you got in the army. Was that -- did that surprise you when you didn't get the army radio station job?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah, not because I was Rabin's granddaughter, because I got offended that they didn't want me.
LAMB: Why didn't they want you?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. Ask them.
LAMB: How do you apply for a job like that in the military?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's a special process that's so long and so boring that I won't have -- it's not too interesting.
LAMB: Were you surprised that you didn't get it?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I wasn't surprised. I was offended.
LAMB: Offended.
LAMB: Why?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Because you get this image of a stupid person if you don't get to do -- if you -- I always believed that if you really want something so bad, you can get it, and this is the first time that I wanted something so bad and I couldn't get it.
LAMB: So then what did you do? You had to have a job.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Then I applied for the army's newspaper.
LAMB: What happened there?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I applied too late, because I was rejected very late from the army's radio station. So their course for writing was packed. So they said, "You have the possibility to go as a producer." So I had an interview, and they accepted me, and I became a producer in the army's new newspaper, but now I was promoted, and now I'm a reporter.
LAMB: So when you go back -- on what date will you be back full time in the army?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: May 9th I'm coming back, so it means the 12th.
LAMB: You'll be back in the army then.
LAMB: Full time.
LAMB: And then what will your job be when you do that?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I will be reporting. It's a new job. It's a new position for me because I was promoted just before I left. So I don't know what my job would look like, because it's a new one.
LAMB: But you will have to write.
LAMB: And you like to write.
LAMB: Another person you talk about in the book -- and by the way, whose decision was it for the photos? Who decided what photos went in?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I gave a selection, and every publisher chose.
LAMB: How many different languages was this published in?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Let's see: French, German, America, Italy, Holland, Israel.
LAMB: All those different languages?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Israel is not published yet; it will be published soon.
LAMB: This has not been published in Israel yet?
LAMB: Really? So you have to go through all this ...
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Because I have to make some changes in order to make it to an Israeli reader -- because there are some things that explain so much here that the Israelis don't have to have the explanation, because it sounds like a snob when trying to explain all those things to Israelis.
LAMB: This is the person I wanted to show, King Hussein.
LAMB: And when was that picture taken?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: When Hussein visited Tel Aviv. I don't remember the exact month. It's 1996.
LAMB: No, the one up here. Isn't this after your grandfather was ...
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Yeah, it's after the assassination. He came to visit Tel Aviv, and it was in the Tel Aviv Medical Center, when they called the trauma center after my grandfather -- and he came there.
LAMB: And you report in here -- it was something that's been reported other places -- that they had a friendship for 20 years -- or King Hussein and your grandfather talked privately for 20 years?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Not like they used to call each other, you know, every day and say "How it's going on....Are you coming tonight?" Nothing like that. They kept relations. It depends on the job my grandfather had, but yeah.
LAMB: Did you meet the King?
LAMB: Did you have a chance to talk with him?
LAMB: What do you think of him?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I think he's very impressive.
LAMB: Have you been to Jordan?
LAMB: Do you hope to go sometime?
LAMB: Under what circumstances would you go to Jordan?
LAMB: Couldn't you do that right now if you want to?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: No, I'm in the army.
LAMB: But as soon as you're out of the army, you can go.
LAMB: There's another picture in here of you.
LAMB: Where was that taken?
LAMB: What year?
LAMB: So that's new. And that's your army uniform on.
LAMB: So what do you think of the army so far?
LAMB: What does that mean? It's OK?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: It's OK. It's like everything, you know. It's like everything in life -- you can't have it perfect. Sometimes it pisses you off, and sometimes it's really fun.
LAMB: What's the best thing about being in the army?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I guess it's serving the country, although it sounds really big and my job is really tiny, but it is, in many terms, serving the country, because you give 19 months from your life to this country. It's the least you can do.
LAMB: Is there anybody that doesn't have to serve their country? Is there anyone that gets to ...?
LAMB: So if you're an Orthodox Jew, you don't serve in the army.
LAMB: Do people ever just say they're Orthodox to avoid the service?
LAMB: Do they get caught?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: Nobody's looking for them.
LAMB: How many of the people in Israel are Orthodox?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know exact numbers.
LAMB: We're about out of time. My last question to you is: if you had to do this book over again, what would you change?
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: I don't know. It's not been enough time for me to tell you what would I change.
LAMB: So you like it.
NOA BEN ARTZI-PELOSSOF: For the meanwhile, yeah. If I'll change my mind, I'll call you.
LAMB: We'll do this again.
LAMB: Now help me on this, your name. One more time, just pronounce it the correct way: Noa ...
LAMB: Ben Artzi ...
LAMB: Pelossof.
LAMB: Noa Ben Artzi Pelossof.
LAMB: "In the Name of Sorrow and Hope." Thank you very much for joining us.

Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 1996. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.