22 Facts About Abba Eban


Abba Eban was the second ambassador to the United States and the first Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.


Abba Eban was Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly and President of the Weizmann Institute of Science.


Abba Eban was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 February 1915 to Lithuanian Jewish parents; his mother, Alida Sacks, was an aunt of Oliver Sacks, while his father, Avram Solomon, died while Abba Eban was still an infant.


Abba Eban's mother moved to the United Kingdom at an early age.


Abba Eban served in the British Army in Egypt and Mandate Palestine, becoming an intelligence officer in Jerusalem, where he coordinated and trained volunteers for resistance in the event of a German invasion, serving as a liaison officer for the Allies to the Jewish Yishuv.


Abba Eban was at that time known as "Aubrey Evans".


Abba Eban moved back to London briefly to work in the Jewish Agency's Information Department, from which he was posted to New York, where the United Nations General Assembly was considering the "Palestine Question".


Abba Eban continued at the United Nations over the next decade.


In 1952, Abba Eban was elected Vice President of the UN General Assembly.


Abba Eban left the United States in 1959 and returned to Israel, where he was elected to the Knesset as a member of Mapai.


Abba Eban served under David Ben-Gurion as Minister of Education and Culture from 1960 to 1963, then as deputy to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol until 1966.


From 1966 to 1974, Abba Eban served as Israel's foreign minister.


Abba Eban was at times criticized for not voicing his opinions in Israel's internal debate.


Abba Eban was offered the chance to serve as minister without portfolio in the 1984 national unity government, but chose to serve instead as Chair of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee from 1984 to 1988.


Abba Eban devoted the rest of his life to writing and teaching, including serving as a visiting academic at Princeton University, Columbia University and George Washington University.


Abba Eban narrated television documentaries including Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, for which he was host, Israel, A Nation Is Born, and On the Brink of Peace.


Abba Eban died in 2002 and was buried in Kfar Shmaryahu, north of Tel Aviv.


Abba Eban was survived by his wife, Shoshana "Suzy", who died in 2011, and their two children.


Abba Eban's son, Eli Abba Eban, is a clarinettist who teaches at Indiana University.


Abba Eban's brother-in-law was Chaim Herzog, the sixth President of Israel.


Abba Eban's nephew, Jonathan Lynn, is a filmmaker and scriptwriter known for satirical BBC shows Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.


In 2001, Abba Eban was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and special contribution to society and the State.