Veteran Israeli politician Ben Eliezer dies aged 80

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.