Ezer Weizman former Israeli president dies at the age of 81

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

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Ezer Weizman, former President of the State of Israel died at the age of 81 on April 24, 2005.

A World War II fighter pilot, Ezer Weizman led the formation of the Israeli Air Force which played a decisive role in Israel's wars with Arab nations. He left the military and began his political career in 1969, going on to help found the Likud Party, serving as Defence Minister, was closely involved in the Camp David accords and the treaty with Egypt, and advocated negotiations with the Palestinians.

Initially a hawk, Israel-born Weizman made a very public transition to the dove political views, saying Jews had to "share this part of the world" with Arabs. It was his belief that peace, and a strong military, were Israel's strongest defences.

Weizman was a nephew of Israel's first President, Chaim Weizmann, and was himself elected in 1993 on the dovish Labour ticket. His seven years in office led critics to describe him as the most political President of Israel, a largely ceremonial position.

His funeral was held on April 26, 2005.