Former Israeli president Ezer Weizman died Sunday evening at his home in Caesarea at the age of 80.
Weizman body will be laid at the Or Akiva cultural center Tuesday from 9 A.M. until 2 P.M. His funeral will be held at 4 P.M.
Weizman, the nephew of Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, was born in Tel Aviv on June 15, 1924. He volunteered to serve in Great Britain’s Royal Air Force at age 18, in the midst of World War II. He later became one of the founding officers and pilots of the Israel Air Force.
In 1958, Weizman was appointed commander of the IAF. He held the post for eight years. Becoming deputy chief of staff to then-army chief Yitzhak Rabin, he played a key role in the 1967 war.
In three decades of political life, Weizman made a highly public transition from hawk to dove, saying the Jews had to learn to ‘share this part of the world’ with the Arabs.
As defense minister in Begin’s government, he established close ties with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. In 1980, Weizman resigned from his post due to disagreements with Begin over the pace at which the agreement was being implemented.
In the late 1980s, Weizman met with Palestine Liberation Organization officials in Europe, at a time when such activities were illegal. The prime minister at the time, Yitzhak Shamir, threatened to dismiss him.
Weizman served as Israel’s seventh president from 1993-2000. As president, he invited Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to his house in an effort to advance the peace process.
Weizman was hospitalized two months ago suffering from pneumonia and spent most of the time in intensive care in an induced coma and on a respirator. He was released from the intensive care unit at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa 10 days ago and, according to close associates, Weizman had in fact returned home to die.
Weizman lost consciousness Sunday at 5:30 P.M. and he died at 7:30 P.M.