Israel’s fifth president, Itzhak Navon, dies aged 94

President of Israel from 1978 to 1983, Yitzhak Navon’s long career in public life included serving as political secretary to foreign minister Moshe Sharett in the 1950s and chief of staff of prime minister David Ben Gurion. After his election to the 11th Knesset on the list of the precursor to the Labor party, he was appointed education minister, a post he held until 1990. Navon was born in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1921 and wrote extensively about mingled Jewish and Arab communal life in the mixed pre-1948 city of his youth. He was the author of a highly popular musical, “The Sephardi Orchard,” which vivdly chronicled his experiences of those days. Yitzhak Navon was descended from one of the oldest Jewish families in Jerusalem, the Baruch Mizrahis, who trace their presence in Jerusalem uninterrupted from 1620.

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