Abba Eban (1915-2002) was born to Lithuanian Jews in Cape Town, South Africa and named Aubrey Solomon. His father died when he was seven month old and his mother Alida Sacks moved to Britain where she remarried. In 1938, Eban graduated with honors from Queens’ College, Cambridge and began teaching Arabic, Persian and Hebrew literature at the university. During World War II, Eban worked in Cairo as a translator and censor for the British army. There he met Shoshana (Suzy) Ambache, the daughter of a Jewish businessman from Palestine, whom he married. The couple settled in Palestine where Eban worked for the British until he joined the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
At 33, he became Israel’s first permanent representative at the UN and then Israel’s ambassador to the US. He served as a Labor member of the Knesset, and as Israel’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister. A prolific lecturer and author, he wrote several books, including My people: the story of the Jews, My country: the story of modern Israel, Heritage: civilization and the Jews, Abba Eban: An Autobiography and The new diplomacy: international affairs in the modern age.
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