Eitan Haber, trusted aide to Yitzhak Rabin, dies at 80

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Eitan Haber, a former journalist and adviser to Yitzhak Rabin who tearfully announced the death of the assassinated Israeli prime minister in 1995, died Wednesday. He was 80.

Yediot Ahronot, the Israeli newspaper where Haber spent much of his career, said he died from cancer.

Haber covered military affairs for Yediot for 25 years and also appeared on Israeli TV and radio before becoming an adviser to Rabin, who was defense minister, in 1985. He later served as Rabin’s bureau chief and speech writer after he was elected prime minister in 1992.

When Rabin was gunned down by a Jewish ultra-nationalist at a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995, it was Haber who announced the news of his death outside a Tel Aviv hospital.

“The government of Israel announces in shock, with great sadness and deep sorrow, the death of Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered by an assassin, tonight in Tel Aviv,” Haber said, his voice shaking, to a crowd of reporters.

At Rabin’s funeral two days later, with President Bill Clinton and other world leaders watching, Haber read from the blood-covered copy of the Israeli anthem, “Song of Peace,” which Rabin had sung at the peace rally. The paper had been in his pocket when he was shot.

Haber later returned to the media and also had a career in business.

Israel’s figurehead president eulogized Haber as “the knight of the written and accurate word.”

“He turned history into words and gave unfortunately moments, masterpieces that shaped the national memory,” Reuven Rivlin said.

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