This Founding Father of the Jewish State Was a Serial Cheater Who Hated Israel

The most comprehensive study ever conducted on Chaim Weizmann casts a new light on Israel’s first president

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Chaim Weizmann.
Chaim Weizmann.Credit: David Eldan . GPO
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

In the winter of 1926-27, Chaim Weizmann fell in love. Vera, his wife and the mother of his children, was sufficiently far away for him to allow himself to woo another woman unabashedly. And not just any woman, but the star of Habima Theater, Hanna Rovina. Weizmann, who would go on to become Israel’s first president, was captivated by the first lady of the Hebrew theater, 14 years younger than he, after attending a performance in New York by Habima of “The Dybbuk,” in which she played the lead. (It was only the following year that the Hebrew-language company, which had been founded in the Russian Empire in 1912, moved to Tel Aviv.)

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