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Abba Eban
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    (February 2, 1915-November 17, 2002)
    Born in Cape Town, South Africa
    Birth name was Aubrey Solomon
    Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (1949-59) and United States (1950-59)
    Israeli Minister of Education and Culture (1960-63), Deputy Prime Minister (1963-66) and Foreign Minister (1966-74)
    Wrote 'My People: The Story of the Jews' (1968), 'My Country: The Story of Israel' (1972), 'Abba Eban: An Autobiography' (1977), 'Heritage: Civilization and the Jews' (1984), 'Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes' (1992) and 'Diplomacy for a New Century' (1998)
    While serving as an officer with the British army in Palestine, he wrote anonymous newspaper articles criticizing British policies.
    He adopted the name Abba, Hebrew for father, because he saw himself as the father of Israel.
    He was more popular overseas than with his fellow Israelis.
    He was aloof.
    He alienated himself from fellow politicians with his caustic criticisms, such as calling Moshe Dayan 'the only Jew in history to violate all Ten Commandments' or Yitzhak Shamir 'the tunnel at the end of the light.'
    He was married to Suzy Ambache for 57 years until his death.
    He arranged a critical meeting between Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann and Harry S. Truman shortly before Truman announced that the US would recognize Israeli independence.
    He was fluent in ten languages.
    He was famed for his oratory, with Henry Kissinger saying, 'I have never encountered anyone who matched his command of the English language.'
    He said, 'History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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