Avi Har-Even, a former leader of Israel’s space program and a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, dies of serious injuries incurred during an arson attack on an Acre hotel during recent violence between Jewish and Arab communities.
Har-Even, 84, had been in critical condition since suffering from smoke inhalation when the hotel he was staying at in the port city of Acre was torched last month. Several more guests were injured when the Efendi Hotel was set on fire during rioting by Arab residents of the city.
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 in Bar-Ilan University.