Veteran Israeli diplomat Gideon Meir dies aged 74

He was involved in the peace negotiations with Egypt and helped draft the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

Yahrzeit candle (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Yahrzeit candle
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
 Veteran diplomat Gideon Meir died on Monday at his home in Mevaseret Zion near Jerusalem following a two-year battle with cancer, he was 74.
Born in Jerusalem in 1947 to a traditional Jewish family, on his father’s side, Meir could trace his roots to Fulda in Germany, whose Jewish community dated back to at least the early 13th century.
After completing his military service in 1967, Meir enrolled at the Hebrew University and at more or less the same time was accepted as a cadet at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where he eventually spent 42 years. His postings abroad included consul and administration officer at the Israel Embassy in Washington, deputy chief of mission in London, ambassador to Italy and non-resident ambassador to Malta.
At home, he was an eloquent spokesman for Israel in many appearances on foreign television news channels, mainly during the Second Intifada, and he training young diplomats, among other responsibilities. His final position before he retired was as as head of the Public Diplomacy Division.
In an earlier role, he was involved in the peace negotiations with Egypt and helped draft the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.
In eulogizing Meir at his funeral in Jerusalem, retired Supreme Court justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who had worked with Meir when he was the Foreign Ministry’s legal counsel, spoke of Meir’s valuable work as a diplomat, but noted that as important as diplomacy was to him, what mattered to him most was his family. This was later seen in the tearful tributes by Meir’s wife, children and grandchildren.
Although the family had asked for the funeral to be conducted with only close relatives in attendance to conform with Health Ministry regulations, many more people were nevertheless present to pay their respects.
After retiring, Meir continued in a public role and served for seven-and-a-half years as a member of the Mevasseret City Council. Before becoming ill, he was also involved with Limmud FSU.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi wrote on Twitter: “I am sorry to hear of the premature passing of Gideon Meir of Blessed Memory, an admired and experienced diplomat, who was a partner in the peace negotiations and the peace treaty with Egypt.”
Ashkenazi also mentioned some of the other highlights of Meir’s career including training scores of diplomats.
Responding to Ashkenazi’s tweet, Jeremy Issacharoff, a former deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry and currently Israel’s ambassador to Germany tweeted: “Really sad. Gideon was a unique personality in the Foreign Ministry for over four decades. In Washington, London and as Ambassador in Rome he had an amazing network of contacts. He was loved and highly respected and will be profoundly missed.”
MK Avigdor Liberman, a former foreign minister, also tweeted his condolences: “I was very sad to hear of the passing of my friend, Gideon Meir, who was a diplomat of the first order who served in many senior capacities in the foreign service of the State of Israel. Above all, Gideon was a true friend.”
Meir is survived by his wife Amira, children Adi, Irit and Noa and grandchildren.