Eban, Abba (Solomon) 1915-2002 (Aubrey Eban)

views updated

EBAN, Abba (Solomon) 1915-2002 (Aubrey Eban)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 2, 1915, in Cape Town, South Africa; died November 17, 2002, near Tel Aviv, Israel. Politician, diplomat, and author. Eban was a Zionist minister and ambassador who played a key role in Israeli politics from the 1940s through the 1980s. Educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, where he earned a master's degree in 1938, Eban, who was fluent in Arabic, was an officer in the British Army during World War II where he was assigned to Cairo as a translator and to Palestine where he trained Jewish residents as resistance fighters. After the war he resigned his commission and settled in Palestine with his wife, joining the Jewish Agency in 1946. He became a the youngest delegate to the United Nations in 1948, where he was a key figure in the debate over the independence of the new state of Israel. While still serving in the U.N., Eban became Israel's ambassador to the United States during the 1950s. In 1959 he was elected to the Knesset—Israel's parliamentary body—where he served in a variety of posts through the 1980s, including as deputy prime minister from 1963 to 1966 and as minister of foreign relations from 1966 to 1974. Eban is often credited with helping to solidify ties between Israel and the United States during both the 1956 Arab-Israeli War and the Six-Day War in 1967. Later in his career, as Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin gained power, Eban, who had always been more popular with Jews abroad than those in Israel, lost favor and in 1988 was left off the list of candidates for political office. Eban was the author of several books on politics, history, and biography, including Voices of Israel (1957), My People: The Story of the Jews (1968), Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (1984), a companion volume to the television miniseries he wrote for public television, Diplomacy for the Next Century (1998), and the autobiography Abba Eban (1977). Some of his early works were published under his Anglicized name, Aubrey Eban.



Chicago Tribune, November 18, 2002, section 1, p. 13.

Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2002, p. A1.

New York Times, November 18, 2002, pp. A1-A2.

Times (London, England), November 18, 2002.

Washington Post, November 18, 2002, p. B6.