OBITUARY : Ephraim Evron

Joseph Finklestone's well- deserved tribute to Ephraim Evron [14 August] fails to deal adequately with the episode in his life which illustrates Eppie's integrity and explains the long delay in promoting one of Israel's most brilliant diplomats, writes Colin Legum.

It relates to what came to be known as the "Lavon affair", when David Ben-Gurion dismissed his Defence Minister, Pinhas Lavon, for responsibility over a disastrous attempt to carry out a Mossad operation in Egypt. Eppie believed that his minister, Lavon, had been unjustly blamed by Ben-Gurion and strenuously argued his case to the point of facing dismissal and incurring the permanent displeasure of Ben-Gurion; Ben-Gurion carried on something of a vendetta against Lavon, whose life was virtually ruined.

Believing Lavon innocent of responsibility, Eppie never sought to disguise his feelings. Having incurred the hostility of Ben-Gurion, Evron found promotion was held up until his gifts for friendship and diplomatic skills finally earned him the ambassadorship in Washington.

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