Avraham Harman (1915-1992)

Avraham Harman’s long and active career was dedicated entirely to the Jewish people, in particular the Zionist movement and the State of Israel, the Hebrew University and the struggle for Soviet Jewry.

Avraham Harman was president of the university from 1968 to 1983, at which time he was appointed chancellor. As president, he was responsible for the rebuilding and expansion of the original campus of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. Both as president and chancellor, Mr. Harman traveled the world on behalf of the Hebrew University.

Prior to coming to the Hebrew University, Mr. Harman served in a number of government and Jewish Agency posts, including ambassador to the United States.

Born in 1915 in London, Mr. Harman earned a law degree in 1935 from Wadham College, Oxford University, following which he served on the staff of the Zionist Federation in London.

In 1938 he immigrated to Palestine. In 1939 he served as an emissary to the Zionist Federation in South Africa, returning in 1940 to head the English section of the Agency’s Youth Department and later as head of the English section of its Information Department. Following the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, he was appointed deputy director of the Press and Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1949 he was appointed Israel’s first consul-general in Montreal. In 1950 he joined the Israeli delegation to the United Nations in New York as counselor and also headed Israel’s Office of Information in the U.S., a post he held for three years. From 1953 to 1955 he was Israel’s consul-general in New York.

Mr. Harman then returned to Jerusalem to become assistant director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A year later he was elected to the Jewish Agency Executive. From 1959 to 1968 he was Israel’s ambassador to Washington.

Mr. Harman was founding president of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, a post he held until his death. He devoted much of his time and effort to the cause of Soviet Jewry and to the absorption of Soviet Jewish scientists at the Hebrew University and elsewhere in Israel.

He was the recipient of honorary degrees from Yeshiva University, Brandeis University, the Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute, New York University, Brooklyn College, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, Pepperdine University, San Francisco University and University of Rochester. He was also named an honorary fellow by his alma mater, Wadham College, Oxford.