(1929 - 2003)
Shlomo Argov was born in Jerusalem in 1929, the descendant of family which has lived in Jerusalem for seven
generations. As a young man and a member of the Palmach,
he was wounded in the 1948 War
of Independence in the battle for Safed.
Shlomo Argov received a B.A. in political science
from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (1952) and an M.A. in
international relations from the London School of Economics (1955).
After several years in the Prime Minister's Office under David
Ben-Gurion, he joined the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
1959. His first postings were to the Israeli embassies in Ghana and
Nigeria. He later served in New York and Washington, as well as Deputy
Director-General for Information of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem,
before being appointed Ambassador to Mexico (1971-1974) and the Netherlands
In September 1979 he assumed his final post as Ambassador
to Britain. During his three years in Britain, Argov forcefully and
articulately put forward the Israeli case to a generally hostile Foreign
Office and media. He was held in high esteem by Anglo-Jewry and traveled
often to visit outlying Jewish communities.
On the night of June 3, 1982, Ambassador Argov was
shot and critically wounded by Palestinian
terrorists from the Abu Nidal group of the PLO outside London's Dorchester Hotel, where he was one of 80 diplomats
attending a private dinner. He was hospitalized in Jerusalem for 21
years and remained permanently incapacitated until his death on February
23, 2003, at the age of 73.
A gifted orator, Argov was an eloquent and highly respected
advocate of Israel's cause, and of its rightful place among the nations.
Those who knew him were moved and inspired to work with him to bring
understanding and peace to Israel and its neighbors. In June 2002, on
the 20th anniversary of the assassination attempt, Israel Ambassador
to Britain Zvi Shtauber said: "Shlomo Argov's life since that fateful
evening illustrates the tragic capacity of terror to silence the very
diplomacy that is needed to bring peace to all the peoples of the Middle
Foreign Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said that Argov was a "symbol and example" of
the Israeli diplomat manning his post and facing the world on the diplomatic
front. "Shlomo Argov was shot on his watch at one of Israel's most
difficult hours, at the peak of a wave of PLO terror that then hit Israel,"
Former Jerusalem mayor Teddy
Kollek wrote in 1983, in a preface to a collection of Argov's speeches
writings entitled An Ambassador Speaks Out: "Shlomo Argov
has become a symbol of the Israeli diplomat who today not only fights
for his country's cause under most difficult circumstances, but also
risks his very life in doing so... Shlomo applied himself to the Foreign
Service with a particular single-mindedness, regarding it as both a
profession and a mission in life. He aspired to perfection and never
relented in his efforts in search of new waSys to fight more effectively
on the diplomatic front for the just cause of Israel."
Hava, devoted wife of Shlomo Argov, passed away in
May 2002. He is survived by a son and two daughters - Gideon, 47, Yehudit,
44, and Edna, 35.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs