Avraham Shavit was born in 1927 in Tel Aviv. In his youth, he worked alongside his brother in the family business, an oven production factory. After finishing school, he joined the Palmach and later went to study industrial organization at Cambridge. Upon returning to Israel, he was conscripted into the air force, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Shavit began his public career in 1956, when he joined the youth bureau of the JCJ, where he eventually served as world president. He was also one of the founders of the Kenes Group.
In 1970, he was elected chairman of the executive committee and deputy president of the MAI. In 1975, while still running the family business, he began to serve as president of the MAI and chairman of the economic organizations’ liaison committee. In these roles, he was active in the area of labor relations, attracted many younger people to the MAI, and was instrumental in raising public awareness of the importance of buying
local (“blue and white”) products.
In 1979, he was appointed executive chairman of the board of directors of El Al (with an annual salary of one dollar…). He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Technion, the board of management of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, the Technion directorate, and the board of management of the Diaspora Museum.