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Ex-head of Israel space program dies of Acre hotel attack injuries, weeks later

Rocket scientist Aby Har-Even, 84, succumbs to wounds sustained when rioters torched Efendi Hotel at peak of Arab-Jewish violence last month

Aby Har-Even, a former head of the Israel Space Institute, during a lecture at Bar-Ilan University, in February 2013. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Aby Har-Even, a former head of the Israel Space Institute, during a lecture at Bar-Ilan University, in February 2013. (Screen capture/YouTube)

An Israel Prize-winning former head of the country’s space program died on Sunday, weeks after he was critically injured when Arab rioters torched the hotel where he was staying in the northern town of Acre.

Aby Har-Even, 84, sustained significant burns and suffered from smoke inhalation as a result of the attack. He had been unconscious and attached to a ventilator since his arrival at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center on May 11.

His funeral will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday at the Ramat Hasharon cemetery.

Several more guests were injured when the Efendi Hotel was set on fire.

During his long military career, Har-Even held various research and development positions that saw advanced weaponry brought into the military’s arsenal, and during which he headed a group that was awarded the Israel Prize for security.

After leaving the army, Har-Even began working for the Israel Aerospace Industries in 1982, leading a team that developed Israel’s Shavit satellite rocket launcher.

Between 1995 and 2004, Har-Even directed the Israel Space Agency.

Since 2008, he has been a research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

In addition to Lod, Acre was one of mixed cities that was hardest hit by Arab-Jewish rioting that broke out against the backdrop of the war in Gaza, from May 10 to 20.

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