Yehuda Avner, diplomat and political icon, dies at 86
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Yehuda Avner, diplomat and political icon, dies at 86

Former ambassador was an acclaimed author, worked closely with a number of Israel’s prime ministers

Yehuda Avner (photo credit: Courtesy of Moriah Films)
Yehuda Avner (photo credit: Courtesy of Moriah Films)

Yehuda Avner, a former prime ministerial adviser and ambassador, died Tuesday in his Jerusalem home, following decades of service in public office. He was 86 years old.

Born in Manchester, England, Avner immigrated to the then-British Mandate of Palestine in 1947, a year before the declaration of the Jewish state.

He served in a multitude of positions including as Israeli ambassador to Australia and the United Kingdom, and worked closely with a generation of Israeli leaders of the highest political echelons.

He was an adviser to prime ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, and worked as a speechwriter for prime ministers Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol — decades of work that yielded a highly acclaimed memoir, “The Prime Ministers.”

Avner was also a member of The Times of Israel’s editorial board.

Yehuda Avner’s son-in-law, David Sable, called Avner “Begin’s Shakespeare,” an articulate champion of the Jewish people, and said that his father-in-law dedicated his life to the State of Israel.

“He was a true servant of the Jewish people. In his role as adviser to the generation of legendary leaders of Israel he was never political, never took personal gain, never shied from conflict. With his bag always packed he went; listened, advised and wrote, giving voice to the Prime Ministers he served and voice to our cause and our people,” Sable wrote in a statement Tuesday.

Ambassador Yehuda Avner affixes a mezuza to the front door of The Times of Israel offices in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Amanda Borschel-Dan/The Times of Israel)
Ambassador Yehuda Avner affixes a mezuza to the front door of The Times of Israel offices in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Amanda Borschel-Dan/The Times of Israel)

“The consummate ambassador, he represented Israel during tumultuous times and was respected by friend and foe alike as he brought his skills to the corridors of power and the backrooms of deals,” he wrote.

“His legacy is Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel, to which he dedicated his life to building. His gift to us: his words, which will live on and continue to inspire future generations around the world,” Sable said.

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