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Raymond Aron Dead at 78

Raymond Aron, one of France’s greatest post-war thinkers, philosophers and writers died this afternoon at the age of 78. He suffered a heart attack as he was leaving the Paris court where he had testified in a libel case against Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell.

Aron, who was often compared to Jean-Paul Sartre as one of the post-war great thinkers, was born into an upper middle class Jewish family. At one time he was teaching sociology, philosophy and political science simultaneously at three different universities including the Sorbonne. For over thirty years he was a political commentator in Le Figaro and L’Express.

He was a conscientious and even proud Jew and ardent supporter of Israel though in recent years he was highly critical of the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied territories and more recently in Lebanon. He visited Israel on several occasions. In the early 1930s, he taught in Germany where he witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. On his return to France in 1933 he wrote an article attacking the Nazis.

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