TEL AVIV (Mar. 4)
Marver Bernstein, 70, the former president of Brandeis University, and his wife, Sheva, 68, are believed to be among those who died last Thursday in a fire at the Sheraton Hotel in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, according to an unconfirmed report published Sunday in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.
According to the paper, the Bernsteins were reported missing and their passports were found near two unidentifiable bodies following the blaze.
Previous accounts indicated at least one American had died in the fire, which took the lives of 16 people.
In New York, friends of the Bernstein family said Sunday that they had heard the account, and one said Sheva Bernstein’s sister had been asked to provide Egyptian officials with the couple’s dental records for the forensic investigation.
Sheva Bernstein’s sister is the political writer Midge Decter, whose husband, Norman Podhoretz, is editor of Commentary magazine.
According to the Ma’ariv report, the Bernsteins, who kept a home in Jerusalem and one in the United States, flew to Cairo last week to join a tour of Egypt, with a visit to the Nabatean archeological remains in Petra, Jordan, organized by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
At a dinner in Jerusalem on the eve of their departure, the Bernsteins reportedly had brushed aside questions about their safety, following the recent attack on an Israeli tour bus in Egypt.
Professor Bernstein, who received his doctorate in political science at Minnesota University, served in several prestigious academic posts. He was dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations at Princeton. He served as president of Brandeis from 1972 to 1983.
Shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Bernstein was invited by the new government to advise it on the establishment of its public services and to draw up plans for the office of state comptroller.
Following his retirement on pension from Brandeis, Bernstein continued an academic association with Georgetown University in Washington.