Eli Hurvitz who built Teva, the generic drug manufacturing company into a global empire would nonetheless not have expected to be eulogized in of all places Vietnam. But Hurvitz who died on Monday night after a long and difficult battle with cancer, had a close relationship with President Shimon Peres who is currently on an historic visit to Vietnam.
Peres learned of Hurvitz's passing while still in the plane en route to Vietnam.
On landing to a red and gold carpet welcome, Peres felt the need to say something about the man who had not only been his personal friend for many years, but who had been a vital force in Israel's economy.
Describing Hurvitz as an extraordinary Israeli, Peres spoke of how Hurvitz had risen from the life of a simple kibbutznik on Tel Katzir to the financial pinnacle of Israeli enterprise.
"He was a unique human being," said Peres, who noted that although Hurvitz was brilliant, he was an unpretentious and even modest individual, who through Teva had contributed to the saving of millions of lives.
Peres recalled that the Assia Chemical Labs which Hurvitz joined because his father-in-law was a partner there was a very small firm which merged with Zori and then acquired a controlling interest in Teva of which Hurvitz became CEO, and more recently chairman of the board. Hurvitz had built up Teva to what is today. "His passing is a personal loss to me and an even greater loss to the State of Israel," said Peres.
Many members of the large business delegation accompanying Peres in Vietnam were also personal friends of Hurvitz, and would have undoubtedly attended his funeral, today, Wednesday, had they been in Israel.
Although his death is not exactly a shock to the business community given that his illness h the influence that he wielded in the business community.