Senior Labor Party legislator Abba Eban, a founding father of the Jewish state and its leading spokesman for years, has been ousted from Israeli politics after a generation in its vanguard.

The 73-year-old Eban, a former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, failed in his bid Wednesday to win a slot on the party slate for the November elections to the Israeli Parliament.Under the Israeli system, each party makes a list of people to fill the seats it wins in the 120-member Knesset. The number of seats assigned to a party depends on its total vote.

After the Labor Party vote, Eban wrote to party leader and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres: "For a generation I carried (he party's) flag and stated its case throughout the country and the world, and many listened to me.

"It's clear I cannot keep carrying the flag as I did in the past because the party leadership took away my right to do so."

Eban said he would now dedicate his time to writing books and participating in a television series on Israel's history.

The tall, portly Eban is known for his sophisticated oratory, and Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, once described him as "the voice of the Hebrew nation."