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NAVON, YITZHAK (1921- ).

Israeli educator, public servant, and fifth president of the State of Israel. Born in Jerusalem to an old Sephardic family, he studied at the Hebrew University, then taught at elementary and secondary schools. He also served as director of the Arabic department of Haganah. In 1949, he joined Israel’s foreign service. Later, he was political secretary first to Moshe Sharett and from 1952 to 1963 to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. In 1965, after serving two years with the Ministry of Education, he was elected to the Knesset. In 1978, he was elected president of the State of Israel, the first Sephardic Jew and native-born Israeli to hold that office. He has written books and stories on the folklore of Sephardic communities, one of which, The Sephardic Orchard, has become a popular musical in Israel.

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