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Eliahu Eliachar, Leader of Sephardic Jews, Dead at 82

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Eliahu Eliachar, a prominent leader of the Sephardic community in Israel who devoted much of his life to fostering better understanding between Jews and Arabs, died here over the weekend at the age of 82.

Eliachar, a businessman and writer who was a member of the first two Knessets and served as a Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, was born here to a family which traced its antecedents to marranos who fled the Spanish inquisition in the 15th century. The family moved to Amsterdam but resettled in Jerusalem as early as 1485.

Eliachar was the founder of the World Sephardi Foundation and a co-founder and vice president of the World Sephardi Federation. He was honorary president of the Israel Council for Peace with the Palestinians. He believed that Israel should recognize the right of Palestinians to establish a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and was prepared to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization if the PLO recognized Israel’s sovereignty. In that connection, he felt that the Sephardic community could serve as a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians.

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