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Release: Immediate

Israeli statesman Abba Eban speaks at UI April 18

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Abba Eban, one of the founders of the modern state of Israel and a prominent Israeli leader and statesman for the past half century, will discuss Israel's 50th anniversary during a public lecture at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa.

Eban helped organize the original government of an independent Israel in 1948 and has served in numerous government posts during the country's 50-year history. He will present "Israel at 50" as the College of Law's 1998 Richard S. Levitt Distinguished Lecturer.

The talk is free and open to the public.

N. William Hines, dean of the UI College of Law, says the 50th anniversary milestone in modern Israel's history makes Eban's selection to deliver the College's premier annual lecture especially timely.

"We're delighted to have a speaker of Eban's international stature as the 1998 Richard S. Levitt Distinguished Lecturer," Hines says. "As a founding father of the modern state of Israel and a world-renowned statesman, he has played a key role in diplomatic circles for a half-century. Eban is uniquely qualified to reflect on the importance of the anniversary year and to present his thoughts on the future of the Middle East and on the international community generally."

The Levitt Distinguished Lectureship Series was established in 1995 through a donation from Richard S. Levitt, a Des Moines native and graduate of the UI. Levitt is the former president of the banking and financial services company Norwest Corp.

Born in 1915 in South Africa and educated in Great Britain, Eban has been a prominent member of several Israel governments since the late 1940s as a leading member of the Labor Party. During his long tenure, he served as foreign minister for Israel, ambassador to the United States and ambassador to the United Nations.

He also served in Israel's parliament for 30 years before leaving public office in 1988.

He is the author of several books on Israel, the Middle East and international affairs, including "Tide of Nationalism," "My People," "My Country," "The New Diplomacy," "Heritage: Civilization and the Jews," and "Personal Witness."

His new book, "Diplomacy for the Next Century," was published this spring by Yale University Press.

In the March 29 issue of the New York Times Review of Books, reviewer Owen Harries said of Eban's new book: "If I were asked to nominate a brief, readable introduction to what realism in foreign policy means, or should mean, this book would now join a very short list."

Eban advocated the cause of Israeli independence at the United Nations sessions in 1947 when the international body agreed to partition the British-controlled region of the Mediterranean, then known as Palestine, where Jews and Arabs had lived for more than two millennia.

Israel established an independent state with the signing of a constitution on May 14, 1948.

Eban's visit to the Midwest is co-sponsored by the Truman Presidential Library. As president in 1948, Harry S. Truman was a strong supporter of an independent Israel.