Yehuda Avner, distinguished diplomat and author, dies at 86

the prime ministers

Avner’s book on his unique experiences. (Facebook)

With the passing of Yehuda Avner on Tuesday, Israel lost one of its finest and most dedicated public servants.

Yehuda Avner (born Yehuda Haffner), who served several Israeli prime ministers and became famous for his acclaimed book, The Prime Ministers, a best-seller, which recounts his fascinating experiences, died of cancer at his home in Jerusalem on Tuesday at the age of 86.

The book, written in 2010, was made into a documentary in 2013.

A native of Manchester, England, Avner immigrated to Israel in 1947, a year before the establishment of the modern State of Israel. He fought in Israel’s War of Independence and joined the Foreign Service in 1958.

A founder of Kibbutz Lavi, Avner served as an advisor and secretary to Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, and worked as a speechwriter for Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol.

Avner served in diplomatic positions at the Israeli Consulate in New York City and the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. In 1983, he was appointed Ambassador to Britain and Non-resident Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. He later served as ambassador to Australia.

A staunch defender of the Jewish State, Avner was a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a pro-Israel think tank advocating Israel’s right to exist and fighting antisemitism. He was a member of the Ambassadorial Appointments Committee and served on the International Advisory Board of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, which was founded, according to its mission statement, “to promote accountability and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of humanitarian NGOs in the framework of the Arab–Israeli conflict.”

Former PM Begin (R) consults with his aide Yehuda Avner. (Yehuda Avner)

Former PM Begin (R) consults with his aide Yehuda Avner. (Yehuda Avner)

Son-in-law David Sable, in a statement issued on Tuesday, described Avner as “a true servant of the Jewish people…. 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.”

“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.

Avner is survived by his wife Mimi (nee Callingold), children and grandchildren.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News