Monday, August 29, 2016

"Muscle Training Illustrated" Names Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir as its Man of the Year for 1991

In the wake of the first Gulf War, the summer of 1991 was a period of dramatic changes and challenges, as shown in our post on the attempted coup in the USSR. But the ISA files also contain moments of light relief, such as these press cuttings accompanying a message from the consulate general in New York, telling Yitzhak Shamir's press adviser that the American bodybuilders' magazine "Muscle Training Illustrated' had chosen the diminutive and physically unimpressive prime minister as its Man of the Year.

During the Gulf War Iraq attacked Israel with Scud missiles, which caused serious damage and aroused fears that Israel's ability to deter its enemies would be undermined. Shamir was under great pressure to retaliate, but he knew that military steps against Iraq might lead to the break up of the coalition against Saddam Hussein built by the United States with the moderate Arab states. Shamir's policy of restraint aroused great admiration all over the world. 
Crater caused by a Scud missile which landed in SouthTel Aviv, 19 January 1991
Photograph: Nathan Alpert, Government Press Office

This admiration was also expressed in the award given to Shamir in August 1991, by Dan Lurie, the Jewish publisher of the magazine, and a champion bodybuilder himself. And even Shamir had his moments as a sportsman, as shown by this photograph from a visit to a sports club in 1988. 
Maggi Ayalon, Government Press Office

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