Rath was born in Vienna grew up there. After the Anschluss he came through a Kindertransport as a thirteen-year-old boy to Palestine. As one of the founders of the kibbutz Hamadia he lived there for 16 years and studied contemporary history and economics. After turning to journalism he became editor in 1975 and in 1979 chief editor of the Jerusalem Post. In this capacity he belonged together with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin to the inner circle of friends of David Ben-Gurion. After finishing work at The Jerusalem Post in 1989 he was a freelance writer and taught at the University of Potsdam and was news editor of the on-line journal Partners for Peace. Ari is a founding member of the Next Century Foundation, a second track group working for peace and reconciliation.
Rath is still an advocate for a peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians.
For his merits of Israeli-German/Austrian dialog he was awarded several honors among others: in 2005 he won the German Bundesverdienstkreuz; his latest award for his "dialog between Vienna and Israel" was the Goldenes Ehrenzeichen (golden badge of honor) of the city of Vienna.
In 2005, Ari Rath, along with some British and Arab journalists, received a Special Prize in the British House of Lords in the shape of an olive tree from the International Council for Press and Broadcasting in recognition of his achievement and tireless work for rapprochement and peace. This was in lieu of the Peace for Media awards, which were not given that year.
- Rath, Ari a.o. Auf dem Weg zum Frieden. Artikel und Essays aus fünf Jahrzehnten, Berlin 2005.
- Rath, Ari; Frenkel, Erwin. Front page Israel. Major events 1932–1986 as reflected in the front pages of the Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem 1986, ISBN 0-933503-09-1.