Yitzhak Navon Is Born

Yitzhak Navon, is born on April 9, 1921 in Jerusalem.  Navon is an important Israeli political figure and author. A close affiliate of both David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres, Navon is born into a family that has been living in Jerusalem for over 300 years, representing what is known as the Old Yishuv, or Jews living in the Land of Israel before Zionism existed. Accordingly, he is a fluent Arabic speaker. Early in his life, Navon fights in the Irgun, and then goes on to join the Haganah as a result of ideological differences with the Irgun leadership.

Navon holds many important positions within the Israeli government throughout his career including Secretary to Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, Head of the Culture Division of the Education and Culture Ministry, and as a Member of the Knesset under the Rafi and Labor parties.

Later in his career, he serves as Deputy Speaker of the house, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Zionist Movement.

In 1978, Navon is elected as the fifth President of Israel. During his presidency, Navon works to build bridges between the many ethnic and religious communities within Israel. Navon also deals with the withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and the First Lebanon War. In 1983, Navon famously turns down the opportunity to run for a second term as President, and chooses instead to return to the Knesset, where he remains until 1992.

Navon, also an author, writes one book and two musical plays. His book, The Six Days and the Seven Gates, published in 1979, and his two musicals “Romancero Sefardi” (1968) and “Bustan Sefardi” (1970) reflect his Sephardic Jewish heritage and are regularly performed at Tel Aviv’s Ha’bima theater.

Navon passes away on November 7, 2015 in Jerusalem at the age of 94.

The photo shows Yitzhak Navon (left) pictured with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo source Government Press Office of Israel, Kobi Gideon