February ’81 in the Exponent: Reagan, Israel and the Jews; Famed Newsman Worked Here


With a masthead and lead headline in bright blue, the Feb. 6, 1981 Jewish Exponent visually commanded the attention of its readers.

But years later, perhaps the most interesting thing on the paper’s cover is the name of the lead article’s author.

That would be Wolf Blitzer — the same Wolf Blitzer who’s been an anchor and reporter for years with CNN. At the time, Blitzer was listed as the Exponent’s “Capitol correspondent” and he contributed articles here for a couple years before moving on.

Blitzer gained fame a few years later by writing a book called Territory of Lies, about the arrest and trial of American Jew Jonathan Pollard, who was charged as an Israeli spy. He joined CNN in 1990.

But in 1981, Blitzer was taking a detailed look at how President Reagan was going to be perceived by Israel and the Jews.

“In practical terms, release of the American hostages in Iran is bound to have a direct impact on how the Reagan Administration deals with Israel and the Middle East,” Blitzer wrote. “U.S. officials conceded that their preoccupation with the hostage dilemma these past 14 months probably led somewhat to the slowdown in the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations on Palestinian autonomy.”

Blitzer wrote that with the hostage crisis resolved, Reagan’s team would be able to focus on other issues in the Middle East, although nothing tangible might happen until after elections in Israel.

“The Israeli elections have been welcomed privately by Reagan advisers. Indeed, they are relishing the breathing spell,” Blitzer wrote. “They have a built-in excuse to offer the Arabs in their hiatus in the talks.” 


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