Halban gained his degree in History from Princeton. After a few years working back in London at Weidenfeld and Nicolson and as an associate agent with Peter Janson-Smith Literary Agency, he moved to Jerusalem in 1975. He was the second director of Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem (the arts and cultural centre, a project of the Jerusalem Foundation chaired by the then Mayor Teddy Kollek)). He later worked in publishing before returning to London. In 1986, together with his wife Martine, he founded Halban Publishers, publishing fiction, memoirs, history, and biography, books on the Middle East and of Jewish interest.
Halban is also a trustee of the Humanitarian Trust, London and the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. He was Chair of the Jerusalem Foundation UK from 2009-2016. He is Chair of the Isaiah Berlin Literary Trust, and a member of the Advisory Committee of Wolfson College.