Abie Natan during his 80th birthday party
Photo: Ofer Amram

Peace activist Abie Nathan laid to rest

Some 100 people attend funeral of Voice of Peace founder who died earlier this week at age of 81. 'Abie believed in what he did and deserves the title of a true leader,' says Culture Minister Majadele

Bidding farewell to the man of peace. Only several dozens of people arrived Friday afternoon at the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv for the funeral of peace activist Abie Nathan, who died earlier this week at the age of 81.


On Friday morning, Nathan's coffin was placed on the stage of the Tzavta Theater in Tel Aviv to allow Isralies to pay their last respects.


President Shimon Peres eulogized Nathan, saying that "even if we didn't always agree with Aibe, he couldn’t have been ignored. He was a real person, without an ego, who always helped others before helping himself."


Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) told Ynet that "there was no peace activist like Abie Nathan, and it's a shame that there were no other people like him, who were liked both by the Right and by the Left."


According to Culture, Science and Sports Minister Raleb Majadele, "Unlike leaders who chase the media, Aibe believed in what he did and deserves the title of a true leader."

MK Tibi and President Peres at funeral (Photo: Dana Kopel)


Nathan was a pilot, an entrepreneur, a peace activist and founder of the groundbreaking 'Voice of Peace' radio station. He was born as Abraham Jacob Nathan in April 29, 1927 in Iran, educated in India, and served in the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot, before immigrating to Israel during the 1948 War of Independence and joining the IDF's fledgling Air Force.


Nathan burst onto the world of Middle East diplomacy in 1966 with a dramatic solo flight to Egypt in a rattletrap single-engine plane, more than a decade before Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty.


Although he failed in his initial bid to talk peace with the Egyptians, his daredevil escapade won the affection of many Israelis and launched a long and often eccentric one-man crusade to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Over time, he earned a reputation as a maverick peace activist who often took diplomacy into his own hands. He was called a crackpot and a prophet. But many admired the daring of the former Israeli air force fighter pilot as he pounded on Egypt's doors, sailed his pirate radio ship into hostile Middle East waters or risked his life on hunger strikes for peace. 


The Associated Press contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 08.29.08, 13:24
 new comment
This will delete your current comment