Father of Israeli Diplomacy
Eban was the face and voice of Israel as the small State took her
first steps into the international arena. His ability to communicate
and motivate in a warm and enlightened manner won the hearts and
minds of millions. This brilliant orator, Israel's first modern
governmental public affairs professional, served as diplomat, government
minister and Member of Knesset.
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, he sought to consolidate Israels
relations with the United States and secure association with the
European Economic Community. Before and after the Six-Day War, he
led Israel in its political struggle in the UN.
potent public affairs skills were not fully utilized by the Israeli
establishment in his latter days. He was discarded not for his potent
assets, but rather for the severe lack of insight and appreciation
for professional public affairs by the many bureaucrats who have
and continue to work in Israeli public office. Eban received the
Israel Prize in 2001, but this award by the Israeli establishment
was too little, too late for this truly talented and distinguished
That Eban was not put to creative work for the State until his last
day, was both a personal tragedy for this Israeli legend and even
more so for all Israelis who today suffer from a negative image
in many areas of the globe. We were lucky - so lucky to have had
Eban represent us to the world under Ben-Gurion.
May Eban the man and Eban the diplomat serve as a true inspiration
to future Israeli governmental officials and diplomats as to the
meaning of successful and professional public affairs.
teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted
all other alternatives."
Political information officer for the Jewish Agency
Liaison officer of the Jewish Agency with the UN
Special Committee on Palestine and a member of the Jewish Agency delegation
to the UN General Assembly
Representative to the UN
Permanent representative to the UN
Ambassador to Washington and permanent representative
to the UN
Abba Eban with US President Harry Truman and Israeli
Prime Minister Ben-Gurion
Vice President of the UN General Assembly
President of the Weizmann Institute of Science
Elected to the Knesset
Minister without Portfolio
Minister of Education and Culture
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Guest professor at Columbia University
Chairman of the Board of Governors of Beit Berl
Member of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Affairs
Chairman of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Henry
Kissinger (center) was guest of honor at the official opening of the
Abba Eban Centre for Israeli Diplomacy. Ambassador Eban stands to his
left and Hebrew University
President Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund to his right.
Abba Eban was a member
of the American Academy of Sciences. His books include Heritage: Civilization
and the Jews, Promised Land, My Country: The Story of Modern Israel, Abba
Eban, Voice of Israel, The Tide of Nationalism, My People, the New Diplomacy,
Maze of Justice, Personal Witness, and, in 1998, Diplomacy for the
first exposure to Abba Eban, was when he addressed the United Nations
after Israel was attacked during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. I was
so impressed with this brilliant man, I wondered where Israel was
hiding him all this time. His motivating speech was part of the
reason that I volunteered to leave the US for Israel during that
Joel Leyden, Leyden Communications (Israel)
He was chief consultant
and narrator of the nine-part television program Heritage, and
editor-in-chief and narrator of the five-part television series Personal
Witness: A Nation is Born.
He completed The Brink of Peace, a film on the Middle East peace
process for the PBS television network in the U.S.
tall, heavy-jowled Eban spoke 10 languages with an academic bearing
and was usually seen in public in three-piece suits, contrasting with
the open-shirted, sunburned Israeli pioneers, many of them ex-military
commanders, who led the country through its first half-century.
Widely admired abroad, Eban never really took off at home, spending
his last years in the political wilderness.
following is the eulogy delivered at Abba Eban's funeral on November
18 by his nephew Isaac Herzog.
Dear Uncle Aubrey,
With the permission
of Aunt Suzy, your life-long partner and companion of 55 years,
your beloved son Eli and your daughter Gila, grandchildren Omri
and Yael and the whole family, I wish to bid you farewell. An exemplary
figure such as yourself, admired in Israel and throughout the world,
also has a personal, private, family circle which was always part
of your life and went with you the whole way.
You were called
to the flag at a very young age and since then you were at the national
and international forefront for decades. For all those years a loving
and supportive family stood beside you, led by Suzy, who trod with
you on your wondrous journey, with infinite support and love. Your
personal and public lives were one. Saturday afternoon family get-togethers
were always fascinating affairs, journeys through history, politics,
people and culture.
A few months
ago you were deeply moved when I showed you a passage from the late
prime minister Moshe Sharett's diary published this year. He described
with raw emotion how on the eve of the Black Sabbath of 1946, a
prodigy such as yourself agreed, encouraged by your young wife,
to join the political leadership of the Jewish Agency - the emerging
to me you were leaving a promising and brilliant academic career
for a noble cause, and since then your life was marked with achievements
and peaks that few have reached in the generation of the founding
if I had to characterize what we all got from you, besides your
rare, singular contribution to the rebuilding of the Israeli nation
in its land, described here by all of my predecessors, I would sum
it up in one word: "culture."
You were a man
of culture - the culture in your lifestyle, both public and personal,
was real culture in the full sense of the word. You treated people
with fairness, integrity and honesty. You respected anyone who was
different and honored the minorities in Israel. You respected enemy
and adversary and consistently reached out to them. You treated
the elevated and the destitute with the same dignity. You exuded
culture to all your listeners throughout the world. You walked the
paths of world diplomacy, politics, academia and media as a man
of culture. You were a man of style and benevolence, with boundless
erudition and a tremendous and rare sense of humor, including about
yourself. A meeting with you was a rare experience of humor, warmth
and wisdom, or in a word, culture. Real culture.
Yes, even the
one and only Abba Eban knew how to play with his grandchildren on
the carpet, and to be thrilled by his children's achievements and
successes in the world of music - a world of culture in its own
right, which he loved and cherished, and he was so proud of Suzy's
tremendous achievements. We, in your warm home, will always remember
you as a considerate and loving husband, father and grandfather,
as our big and special Uncle Abba.
May your soul,
brimming with achievements and culture, rest in eternal peace.
served as cabinet secretary in the Barak government.
Eban died in Israel on November 17, 2002.
The country mourns