Eban, Abba (1915–2002)

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EBAN, ABBA (1915–2002)

Israeli foreign minister, born Audrey Salomon, in South Africa. Abba Eban studied eastern languages at Cambridge, and during World War II organized the recruitment of volunteers to join the Jewish brigade of the British army. Eban was the newly created State of Israel's first representative to the United Nations. In 1950, he became Israel's first ambassador to the United States, and in 1953 he was elected vice president of the U.N. General Assembly. In 1959, he joined the Israel Labor Party, MAPAI, which he went on to represent in the Knesset. In December of the same year he joined the government of David Ben-Gurion as minister without portfolio. The following year he was named minister of education and culture. In June 1963, he became deputy prime minister in the cabinet of Levi Eshkol. From June 1966 to May 1974, he was foreign minister, succeeding Golda Meir. After the 1967 Arab-Israel War, he helped formulate United Nations (UN) Resolution 242. At the foreign ministry his moderate positions clashed with the intransigence of Prime Minister Meir. When Yitzhak Rabin became head of the government, Eban resigned. Between 1984 and 1988, he was chairman of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, where he advocated the development of a dialogue with the Palestinians. In June 1988, shunted aside by certain Labor Party leaders, he no longer figured on its list for the Knesset elections. Eban is the author of a number of works dealing with Jewish history and Israel. He died in Tel Aviv.

SEE ALSO Arab-Israel War (1967);Ben-Gurion, David;MAPAI;Meir, Golda;Rabin, Yitzhak;Resolution 242.