Harry Truman’s Lifelong Jewish Friend

The amazing story of Harry Truman, his close friend Eddie Jacobson, and the founding of the State of israel.

Comments (12)

(9) Yaffa, April 1, 2019 4:09 PM

The influence & love of friendship

What an emotional story about history in the making.

(8) Victor Smithers, August 15, 2018 6:09 PM

I wish I had discovered your site years ago.

As a half orthodox half heterodox follower of Jeshua I'm hoping that your site will assist me in gaining greater insight into the Tanakh especially into the torah portion of the scriptures.

(7) Lina, April 4, 2016 9:57 PM

I was deeply moved by this story. I've never learned much about President Truman in the past. There is in every man the potential to do good.

Last night I watched a documentary titled, "Goering's Last Secret". It has been revealed that the brother of the Nazi mass murderer Albert G., helped save many Jewish lives. In his personal life as husband and father there wasn't anything note worthy but he chose to do some good at great cost to his own life.

Abba appoints men over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.

The 'heritage' of a good name is indeed the best gift we can leave to our children.

(6) Fred Chernow, April 3, 2016 10:57 PM

Every High School student should read and discuss this.

Every American high school student should see this video and discuss it in class.

(5) Joyce Shulman, April 3, 2016 9:03 PM

VERY interesting, and unexpected

(4) mgoldberg, April 3, 2016 8:41 PM

why Truman listened to Jacobson's request

I understand that it was Jacobson who asserted that when Truman and he went belly up, that they pay back their creditors from whom they borrowed money for their business. It was Truman who remembered that Jacobson taught him this lesson and that is why when Truman mentioned that Jacobson never asked for anything from him, that he indeed did owe something to Jacobson- which was both their honor which Jacobson had preserved by making them both pay off their creditors.

(3) Martin, April 3, 2016 1:54 PM

Megillas Jacobson

Watching this video shortly after Purim, I'm struck by the similarity between Megillas Esther and this story.
In both events we see how the hidden hand of HaShem directs the destiny of Am Yisroel through a single individual.
Mr. Jacobson and Pres. Truman are like Esther and Achashverosh. Both were chosen by G-d to profoundly change Jewish history.
The names Jacobson and Truman may also be significant in the context of my thesis.

Janet Lesser, April 5, 2016 5:36 PM

Your last line is totally Brilliant.

Your last line is totally brilliant...and actually inspired me to write something on the internet...a very rare occurrence. 'Son of Jacob' and a 'True Man'. Good mind and literary eye. I am glad you took the time to share this. I have known this story for many years and never saw the truth inherent in their names...which makes this story even richer. Truman's role in Jewish history was to vote for the establishment of The State of Israel, which he did because of one moral upright Jew (who of course opened the door to another Jew of great integrity...Chaim Weitzman). This from a president whose wife was not fond of Jews and did not have the backing of The State Department. That one act of support for the Jewish people was hugely important at that crucial time and showed that Truman also possessed the integrity that he so admired in Jacobson. Through the act of recognizing The State of Israel Truman himself, as an individual, gave the Jews more than entire nations of the world before him. He could have said NO. His record with The State of Israel after its establishment is contingent upon and secondary to the fact that Truman helped ensure there was a State of Israel to begin with.

(2) Kal, April 3, 2016 1:23 PM

Jacobson and Truman

I first heard of Eddie Jacobson and his importance to the founding of the State of Israel in Yehuda Avner's book, The Prime Ministers. An astonishing tale of how a lifelong friendship came to influence the founding of the modern State of Israel.

Mike - what you say about Truman and his stance on the arms embargo and the hypocracy of the UN has merit, but the case can be made that the State of Israel may never have survived has the US not recognized the State of Israel very quickly after its declared independence. Harry Truman ordered the US state department (who were strongly opposed to recognition) to recognize Israel in very short order after having spoken to Weitzman.

History is complicated. So are great leaders. Harry Truman was one of them.

Mike, April 3, 2016 8:37 PM


Truman wrote in his diary in 1947:
"The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. When they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog."

That was in 1947, two years after the Holocaust.

I personally find it hard to understand how exactly "recognizing" Israel helped. By the way, it was only a "de facto" recognition, not a "de jure" recognition which actually sees legitimacy. The first de-jure recognition was actually (ironically) by the Soviet Union.

And had he not recognized Israel, the state would still have come into being since statehood had been declared before. And even if the UN had not voted for the plan, it wouldn't have mattered because the fighting had already begun a long time before the official War of Independence.

I think it's really a good question why Truman imposed an arms embargo against Israel... when at the same time the Arab countries could freely import arms....

He also prevented American Jewish volunteers from fighting for Israel, and those who did volunteer faced losing their citizenship (which probably meant a lot to many people 3 years after the Holocaust and with Israel on the brink of survival).

Regarding the state department- who is actually the boss if not Truman...

So what did he actually do for Israel? Recognition? So he did not take yet another step in delegitimation (even though he actually did he did not recognize that Israel has a moral right to be a state)
(even the UN had assigned more legimacy for a future Jewish state its division plan)

(1) Mike, April 3, 2016 9:16 AM


You can critcize me for it but I didn't want to watch the movie.
This man Truman is so repulsive.

When Israel declared its independence and was fighting for its survival, with a Holocaust of the 600.000 Jews in the land of Israel as a very real possibility, Truman imposed an arms embargo on Israel.

Also, Israel was not 'founded'. It declared its independence.

Also, the UN did not 'create' Israel. It voted to support a plan of the division of what is today Israel, which itself is the result of a division of what was supposed to become the Jewish state.
In that itself the UN betrayed its original mandate.

Maurice H, April 3, 2016 5:03 PM

Glad To See Someone Else Knows History

Your so right on, but I wrote mine before reading yours. So many people put a halo around some people when they really don't deserve it. The only reason why Truman decided to recognize Israel is because he was mad at State for going behind his back and trying to stop the recognition. He was really leaning towards not, and then he got angry at State for trying to usurp his power!


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