Following his service in both the British and Israeli Armies, he took office as Israel's sixth President. Also an author, he published such historical nonfiction works as Heroes of Israel: Profiles of Jewish Courage and Who Stands Accused?: Israel Answers Its Critics.
Born in Ireland to a high-ranking Rabbi father, he earned a law degree from University College London.
A member of the British Army's Intelligence Corps, he was involved, during the last years of World War II, in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
He and his wife, Egyptian-born scientist Aura Ambache, raised four children: Roni, Michael,
His brother-in-law, Abba Eban, was both a diplomat and a prominent Hebrew and Arabic scholar.