Eban Abba, Israeli statesman is born in Cape Town

Eban Abba

Tuesday, 2 February 1915

Eban Abba, Israeli statesman was born in Cape Town South Africa, on 2 February 1915. He is the son of Abraham and Alida Sachs-Eban. His parents moved to Great Britain while he was still a child.

After graduating at Cambridge University in 1938 he became a lecturer in Middle Eastern Language and Literature. During World War II Eban rose to the rank of major in the British army. In the years prior Israel's independence, Eban was chief instructor, 1944-1946 at the Middle Eastern Center for Arab Studies in Jerusalem. He also worked at the Jewish Agency for Palestine before starting his diplomatic career as liaison officer to the UN Special Committee on Palestine in 1947.

Those who know him better described him as "superb orator and witty debater."

In 1948 Eban became Israel's United Nations (UN) representative and served simultaneously as ambassador to the United States from 1950 until his election to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in 1959. A member of the Labour Party, he held various cabinet positions before becoming Foreign Minister in 1966-1974. As a Foreign Minister, he strove for closer ties with the United States and Western Europe.

Eba wrote a number of books including Personal Witness (1992), a memoir, and Diplomacy for the Next Century (1998).


  1. Anon (2008) Briefing containing "Queens" from Kyluka [online] Available at www.kyluka.com [Accessed on 14 December 2010]

  2. Zvielli A. and Ben-David, C. (2002) 'Abba Eban, father of Israeli diplomacy, dies at 87' from The Facts of Israel , 02 November 2002 [online] Available at www.factsofisrael.com [Accessed on 14 December 2010]

Last updated : 02-Feb-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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