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Abba Eban’s Wife to be Buried Sunday

Suzy Eban, wife of former Israeli UN Ambassador Abba Eban, and who helped Israel win UN recognition, is to be buried Sunday.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/18/2011, 7:59 AM

Suzy Eban
Suzy Eban
Israel news photo" Toldot Yisrael sc

Suzy Eban, wife of former Israeli United Nations Ambassador Abba Eban, who helped her husband in the move to have Israel win UN recognition, died last week at the age of 90 and is to be buried near Tel Aviv Sunday.

Knesset Member Yitzchak Herzog, her nephew, said she worked for Zionism and shared responsibility for Israel’s diplomatic success at the re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

Her funeral will take place at Kfar Shemariyahu. Born in Egypt, she is survived by two sisters, two children and two grandchildren. The ladylike Suzy Eban studied at the American University in Cairo and met and fell in love with Abba Eban when he was a dashing, young British officer stationed in the Egyptian capital during World War II.

She is credited with the famous phrase used by her husband that Arabs “never miss an opportunity to miss opportunity.”

Suzy Eban recently related on a new Toldot Yisrael video how Israelis worked to gain the needed two-thirds majority for United Nations recognition as a state. 

Realizing it lacked three votes, Israeli delegates focused on Haiti, Liberia and the Philippines. Suzy Eban revealed that at one point, an Israel delegate went to the men’s room. One South American country, whose name she did not reveal, had promised to vote for Israel.

She explained, “The Israeli delegate noticed his shoes under the door in the men’s room and said, ‘You promised to vote. They are voting now, I am here to bring you to the voting,’” which he did.

“It was touch and go all the time until you got everything lined up,” she added. Israeli representatives sent a Protestant minister, who favored a homeland for Jews, to Haiti to gain its support.

The final vote on that historic Saturday night was 33-13, with 10 abstentions.

“I remember the excitement,” she said. “This was our life.” In the car on the return to Manhattan from the United Nations building, then located at Lake Success, New York, “No one said a word. It was overpowering.”