Yitzhak Naron, Israel’s fifth president, dies

Yitzhak Navon, Israel’s first Sephardic president and the first president to visit Egypt, was buried in a state funeral on Mount Herzl.

Navon died Nov. 6 at 94. His body lay in state before his funeral. Along with his family, mourners included current and former Israeli leaders.

In his eulogy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Navon, Israel’s fifth president from 1978 to 1983, “a jewel that adorned our capital, Jerusalem.”

Netanyahu also remembered Navon at the weekly Cabinet meeting on the morning of his Nov. 8 funeral. “Israel’s heritage was his guiding principle as president, especially the heritage of Sephardic Jewish communities,” the prime minister said. “The love of Jerusalem was embedded deep in his heart; this was the city in which he grew up and lived.”

Navon served in four Knessets, becoming one of the Labor Party’s most respected members. A politician with an ability to bring diverse people together, he was born to a Sephardic family who had lived in Jerusalem for more than 300 years.

In the 1940s he became an officer in the Haganah, which later became the Israel Defense Forces. He was one of the closest advisers to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and served as private secretary to Israel’s first foreign minister, Moshe Sharet. — jta