Moshe Yegar

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Moshe Yegar (Hebrew: משה יגר‎); born 30 October 1930, Buenos Aires, is a retired Israeli diplomat and historian of Islam in Southeast Asia; also, he is author of books and research articles on the history of Zionism during the British Mandate, and about Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its policies and activities.

Early life[edit]

Yegar's father, Jacob Yegar, was born in 1902 in Galinianitz, a small town in Galicia (Eastern Europe). He studied in the Jewish Seminar for Teachers in Lvov and became a teacher for Jewish subjects. In 1929, he married Chava Klein and together they moved to Buenos Aires, where, a year later, they had their son, Moshe. Jacob Yegar, his brother-in-law Moshe Klein and a local teacher, established the first Hebrew school, named in honor of Hayim Nahman Bialik, in Buenos Aires, Argentine. The school has existed ever since. In 1935, the Yegar's family immigrated to Eretz-Israel and settled in Haifa.[1] Yegar went to the Hebrew Reali School of Haifa. He continued his studies at the Hebrew university in Jerusalem where he received his B.A, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. He specialized in the History of Islamic Peoples. In the years 1946 - 1948, Yegar was a member in the Hagana , the largest paramilitary Jewish organization in the British mandate; later on, in the years 1949 - 1955, he served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, the military forces of Israel, and was discharged with a rank of Major.

Career as a diplomat[edit]

In 1956, Yegar joined Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he served until his retirement in November 1995. Among his posts abroad, he served at the Embassy of Israel in Rangoon, Burma (now known as Yangon, Myanmar); as Consul at Israel's Consulate General in Los Angeles (1966 - 1969); as Consul General in Philadelphia (1969 - 1972); as Consul General in New-York (1985 - 1988); as Ambassador in Stockholm (1988 - 1990); and as Ambassador in Prague (1994 - 1995).[2] Also, in 1965, Yegar was sent to Kaula-Lumpur, Malaysia, which had no diplomatic relations with Israel, to open semi-diplomatic presence under cover of a business office. After one year, Yegar was requested to close the office and move out of Malaysia. In between assignments abroad, Yegar served in the Ministry's Headquarters in Jerusalem in senior positions: Head of the Information Department (Hasbara, in Hebrew) (1975 - 1978); Deputy Director General and Head of the Division for Information and Communication (1980 - 1985); Deputy Director General in charge of Asia, Africa, and Oceania (1990 - 1993).[3] [4] Yegar showed his capabilities as organizer of large complicated festivities, on two special occasions: (a) While in his service in New-York, Yegar chaired the 40th Anniversary public committee which organized a mammoth celebration attended by thousands; (b) While in Prague, Yegar organized "the Old Testament in the Arts Festival, October 1955", which included scores of musical, theatrical events, exhibitions, films and symposia.

Yegar's role in the normalization of relations between India and Israel[edit]

Yegar fulfilled a significant role in the negotiations with the Indian authorities to normalize the diplomatic relations between India and Israel. He described in a long article the process, the discussions and the breakthrough which culminated in full diplomatic relations between the two countries. The article appeared in India in the Indian Defence Review, an important quarterly Journal in English on foreign policy and national security issues. [5] [6]


As an expert and author of books and research articles on Southeast Asia, Yegar was invited by the Hebrew University to teach a course on the political history of Southeast Asia. He did that for nine years. Yegar is a Research Fellow at the Abba Eban Centre for Israeli Diplomacy at the Hebrew University's Harry S. Truman Research Institute in Jerusalem.[7]


  • In 1994, Yegar received from the Czech National Academy of Science, the Palacky Gold Medal, for his research of Islam in Southeast Asia, the Muslim community of Burma in particular (including the Rohingya).
  • In 2013, Yegar received from the Institute for Asia and the Pacific, in New Delhi, India, the Prof. M.L. Sondhi Prize for International Politics, "for his pivotal role in the establishment of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel which enabled these two important Asian democracies to enjoy a rich and variegated, mutually beneficial and expanding relationship"(words inscribed on the Prize).[8]
  • Recipient of the Jabotinsky Prize for Literature and Research for 2019.

Public Roles[edit]


Yegar published twenty books on Islam in Southeast Asia and on matters of Israel's foreign policy and on Zionist history, mostly in Hebrew and English. Three of his books were translated to other languages: Arabic, Czech and Burmese. Yegar wrote many articles in Israeli periodicals and journals on historical personalities and events as well as on current issues. In addition, he translated from English into Hebrew eight books of legends and folk-tales for children. [9]

Selected Books[edit]

  • The Muslims of Burma - A Study of a Minority Group, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1972; 157 pages (note: this book was published also in Burmese in Yangon);
  • Islam and Islamic Institutions in British Malaya - Policies and Implementation, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1979; 312 pages, ISBN 965-223-310-2
  • Neutral Policy - Theory versus Practice: Swedish-Israeli Relations, Jerusalem: Israel Council on Foreign Relations, 1993
  • Malaysia Attempts at Dialogue with a Muslim State: Magness Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1996, 236 pages; [in Hebrew] IBSN: 965-223-916-x
  • Between Integration and Secession - The Muslim communities of the Southern Philippines, Southern Thailand , and Western Burma/Myanmar , Lanham, Boulder, New-York. Oxford: Lexington Books, 2002
  • A Short History of Southeast Asia in Modern Times: Magness Press, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008, 308 pages; [in Hebrew] IBSN: 978-965-493-340-7
  • Israel in Asia: Selected Essays. Jerusalem: Yuvalim Press, 2016


Yegar is married to Dr. Dvorah Barzilay-Yegar, historian, who specialized in the life and works of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel. He has a son and a daughter.


  1. ^ kehat, Amira (2012). HometownTourist. The Haifa History Society. pp. 249–252, 254–256.
  2. ^ Coppa, Giovanni (2001). Ten Years of Diplomatic Life in Prague. Prague: Karmelitanske Marladatelstvi. pp. 162–164. ISBN 80-7192-944-1.
  3. ^ Yarkoni, Amos (2017). Ish Makom (in Hebrew). Azur:Reuveni Publisher. pp. 284–287.
  4. ^ Gonnen, Ch. (2017). The Teacher Chava (in Hebrew). Haifa:Novack Publishing. p. 64.
  5. ^ Yegar, Moshe. "The normalization of relations between India and Israel". Indian Defense Review. Lancer Publishers and Distributors.
  6. ^ Becher, Giora (2013). India-Political Diary (in Hebrew). Azur:Reuveni Publishers.
  7. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ M.L.Sondhi Institute for Asia -Pacific Affairs. New Delhi: The Professor M.L.Sondhi Memorial Trust. 2015. pp. 100–110.
  9. ^ The books were published by Carmel Publishing House, Jerusalem.

External Links[edit]

A list of fifteen published books by Moshe Yegar in English and in Hebrew appears in Stanford University library catalog, at the following link: {{}}