Middle East

Veteran Israeli politician Ben Eliezer dies aged 80

  • File - In this file photograph taken on April 30, 2014, Binyamin Ben Eliezer poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press in Tel Aviv, Israel. Veteran Israeli politician Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who held senior posts in the country's government, including defense minister and helped bridge gaps between Israel and the Arab world has died, aged 80. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)

    File - In this file photograph taken on April 30, 2014, Binyamin Ben Eliezer poses for a photo during an interview with The Associated Press in Tel Aviv, Israel. Veteran Israeli politician Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who held senior posts in the country's government, including defense minister and helped bridge gaps between Israel and the Arab world has died, aged 80. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -- In this Jan. 30, 2002 file photo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer before their meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik. Ben Eliezer, a veteran Israeli politician who held a series of top governmental posts, including defense minister died Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. He was 80. A native Arabic speaker, Ben Eliezer was on friendly terms with deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders and helped bridge gaps between Israel and the Arab world. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

    FILE -- In this Jan. 30, 2002 file photo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer before their meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik. Ben Eliezer, a veteran Israeli politician who held a series of top governmental posts, including defense minister died Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. He was 80. A native Arabic speaker, Ben Eliezer was on friendly terms with deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders and helped bridge gaps between Israel and the Arab world. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)  (The Associated Press)

Binyamin Ben Eliezer, a veteran Israeli politician who held several top governmental posts and often served as a bridge to the Arab world, has died. He was 80.

Israeli media reported that he died Sunday after a long illness.

Former President Shimon Peres eulogized him as a "warm person."

Ben Eliezer, known affectionately by his original Arabic first name, "Fuad," was born in Basra, Iraq, in 1936 and moved to Israel in 1950.

He was a prominent member of the dovish Labor party and served in senior ministerial positions. He was indicted for misuse of funds last year.

A native Arabic speaker, Ben Eliezer was on friendly terms with deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders and helped bridge gaps between Israel and the Arab world.