TEL AVIV, Israel – Suzy Eban, the widow of Israel’s master statesman, Abba Eban, died on Thursday, Sept 15. She was 90.
Born Shoshana Ambache, in Ismalia, Egypt, where her father was an engineer, she moved with her family to Cairo when she was still an adolescent and was raised in an affluent, upper middle class home, making frequent visits to pre-state Palestine to visit her grandparents, who had emigrated there from Russia. She studied at Cairo’s American University and it was in Cairo during World War II that she met a dashing young British officer and Cambridge lecturer by the name of Aubrey Eban, who swept her off her feet, courting her for three years. Her first-hand recollection of what transpired at the United Nations in 1947, before and after the vote to partition Palestine, have been recorded on video.
Abba Eban would ultimately become Israel’s first U.N. ambassador. Later, he was pushed off Israel’s political stage by Labor Party stalwarts, including Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
Her nephew, Israeli Knesset member Yitzhak Herzog, described her life as “the personification of the Zionist story. Throughout her life, she demonstrated a deep commitment to the establishment of the State and to its welfare, and did so in an awe-inspiring manner.”
She is survived by her son, world famous clarinetist Prof. Eli Eban, her daughter Gila, two grandchildren, and two sisters, Aura Herzog and Tsilla Castle.
She was laid to rest next to her husband in the Kfar Shmaryahu
With her husband, she lived in the United States as well as Israel, and she headed the Israel Cancer Association for nearly four decades. She was tied to leading families in Israel. One of her sisters is the widow of Chaim Herzog, Israel’s sixth president. Her son, Eli Eban, is a prominent classical clarinetist who has played with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and many others.