Former Israeli President Ezer Weizman has died after suffering a series of respiratory infections. He is best known for playing an instrumental role in the 1979 Camp David Accords with Egypt, Israel’s first peace treaty with an Arab state. He underwent a political transformation, from a hawk to a dove who pushed for concessions to the Palestinians. Weizman was a former air force commander, a popular war hero and the epitome of a “sabra”--a native-born Israeli. He said what he thought--and did it--sometimes rubbing people the wrong way. In the late 1980s, he met secretly with PLO leaders at a time when such contacts were illegal. When right-wing Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir learned about the meetings, he sacked Weizman. But in 1993, Weizman became president and held the office for seven years. "His magnetism and charm touched the hearts of all who met him," Knesset (parliament) speaker Reuven Rivlin told Israel Radio. "He was a true Israeli." Ezer Weizman was 80 years old.
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