February 22, 2024

Renowned political scientist and Israel Prize winner, Professor Shlomo Avineri, passed away at 90 on Saturday. A luminary in political philosophy and a key figure in Israel’s academic and political spheres, Avineri’s death marks the end of a significant era.

Avineri, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel in 1939, was celebrated for his extensive research in political science, particularly his work on Karl Marx and the philosophy of revolution. His career was distinguished by his tenure as the director-general of the Foreign Ministry and his membership in the Israel National Academy of Sciences.

Throughout his life, Avineri was a prolific writer, authoring 10 books and contributing significantly to the understanding of Zionism, socialism, and political philosophy. His works, including influential titles such as “Karl Marx – Philosophy and Revolution” and “Nation and World,” have left an indelible mark on the study of political science.

Avineri known for discreet political engagements

In the 1970s, Avineri gained fame beyond academic circles with the song “Avineri Sakinai” in the satirical program “Nikui Rosh.” He was also known for his discreet political engagements, including secret meetings with King Hussein of Jordan.

Prof. Shlomo Avineri is an Israeli political scientist. He is a Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was Director-General of the Foreign Ministry. Sep 23 2009. (credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)

The Hebrew University, where Avineri taught for over six decades, paid tribute: “We bow our heads at the passing of Prof. Shlomo Avineri. A giant in political thought, his contributions to the fields of Hegel and Marx studies, Zionism, and socialism are unparalleled. His memory will continue to inspire and guide future generations.”