They were once the up-and-coming leaders of Israel's Labor Party. An articulate, photogenic cadre of young politicians who saw themselves as the best and the brightest, the natural successors to Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres and the rest of the party's "old guard."
Haaretz brought together the eight, now in their 60s and beyond, for a joint interview on what went wrong with their grand plans and who can revive the political left. The result is a fascinating cover story in the newspaper's Friday magazine that produces what some might consider surprising findings.
For instance, the eight – Chaim Ramon, Avraham Burg, Amir Peretz, Yael Dayan, Yossi Beilin, Nawaf Massalcha, Chaggai Merom and Nissim Zvili - were asked for their views on intermarriage.
With the exception of one, Burg, these secular, leftist proponents of Jewish-Arab coexistence were strongly opposed to Jews marrying non-Jews.
Massalcha said that based on his experience in his Arab village, Kafr Kara, such marriages never work out. "In recent years, we've seen students from Kafr Kara who studied abroad getting married with European women and it almost always ends in failure," he said.
Yossi Beilin, the dominant figure among the eight who is known for his ultra-liberal views, had a surprising answer: "If you ask me, who I am closer to, more similar to, Yaakov Litzman [the chareidi Knesset member] or [PA negotiator] Saeb Erekat, I feel close to both of them. But if you ask me with the grandson of whom would I prefer that one of my grandchildren marry? With those of Litzman."
Merom also spoke forcefully on the issue, and utterly rejected Burg's support for intermarriage. "I want my children and grandchildren to marry Jews, " he said emphatically. "Avrum, who is a dear friend, has gone off the deep end with his theories. Apparently, his next choice will simply be to get up and leave the county."
Yad L'Achim said the heart-warming article reveals that there is wall-to-wall consensus in favor of Jews marrying Jews. In light of this, the issue of preventing assimilation and intermarriage must be a value that tops the educational agenda in the country's school system.
The cover of this week's Haaretz magazine