Veteran prizewinning journalist Jay Bushinsky died on Wednesday at his home in Savyon. He was 85.
Bushinsky covered the Middle East for American and Canadian newspapers, radio stations and television networks, and occasionally wrote for The Jerusalem Post as well.
He was the Israel bureau chief, columnist or correspondent, or a combination of all three for several prestige media outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Times and The Atlanta Constitution.
He also opened the Jerusalem bureau of CNN in June 1980.
An op-ed piece that he published in the Post in 2012 focused on war correspondents.
He wrote there that they should not take unnecessary risks, and that their host countries should do everything possible to ensure their safety.
Bushinsky was an experienced war correspondent himself, having covered the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, the Cyprus War, the Iranian Revolution, the Lebanon War and the Gulf wars, insofar as they affected Israel. He was much happier covering Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt. Other major stories that he covered included the fall of the shah of Iran.
He traveled to Russia for a well-researched series on refuseniks and Prisoners of Zion, and also compiled a prizewinning series on Nazi war criminals in the United States.
In 1968 he was elected chairman of the Foreign Press Association, and after completing that role continued to be active in the FPA, serving as a member of successive FPA boards when the organization was much larger than it is today.
In 2002 he was honored by the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.
Born in Buffalo on December 8, 1932, Bushinsky graduated Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
The genesis of his long and wide-ranging career was in 1964, when he began writing for New York’s Times Herald-Record.
Two years later he moved to the Chicago Daily News, which sent him to Israel, an assignment which was then a real coup for a journalist who happened to be Jewish, although his byline was not always a giveaway – he also wrote under the pseudonym of Joseph Mason.
Throughout his long career, Bushinsky did not just witness history but recorded it as it was being made, shaping the whole of the region militarily, politically, diplomatically and economically.
Yet even while keeping his finger on the pulse of news as it was happening, he also found time to teach journalism at several Israeli universities.
Aviv, his middle child, followed him into journalism, later becoming a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before moving into the world of business.
Jay Bushinsky was laid to rest just before twilight on Wednesday at the Savyon Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Dvora, their children Shai, Aviv and Daliah, and several grandchildren.