Raanan Gissin, who was best known as the fiery spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government, has passed away at the age of 74.
A frequent presence on international television channels, the gravel-voiced Gissin with the bushy black eyebrows cast a formidable figure, even though he was not very tall in stature.
He had been ill for some time prior to his death on June 26.
A multi-generational sabra, Gissin, who spoke fluent English, had degrees from the Hebrew University Jerusalem and Syracuse University in the US.
His fields of study were political science, broadcast journalism and public administration. His main areas of expertise were in the Arab-Israeli conflict, security in general, strategies for security and the peace process, on which he was often interviewed by international media and on which he spoke at numerous conferences.
Gissin was Sharon's spokesman and advisor
Gissin began working with Sharon in 1996, when Sharon was appointed National Infrastructure Minister. Sharon's activities were of course not limited to his ministry, and Gissin also served as Sharon's personal adviser on media affairs and on Sharon's public persona.
His work was cut out for him during the disengagement from Gaza, when he barely had any sleep, due to being called on so frequently to explain to the Israeli public and the world at large, why such a move was imperative.
The whole story can never be told, because Sharon fell ill and lapsed into an eight-year coma from which he never woke up.
Gissin continued to defend Sharon, even though he was no longer working for him. When Ehud Olmert succeeded Sharon as prime minister, Gissin briefly stayed on and later became a public relations consultant and strategist, as well as a commentator and lecturer on various topics related to the Middle East.
A colorful character with a vibrant, sometimes volcanic personality, he gradually faded from the public spotlight, though he continued to take an interest in Israeli affairs, and attended many international and local conferences, in which he was not a speaker, but at which he wanted to keep his finger on the pulse.
He is survived by his wife Hagar and two sons from a previous marriage, as well as grandchildren and a brother.