Zeev Schiff; Israeli Journalist, Defense Expert

Associated Press
Thursday, June 21, 2007

Defense expert Zeev Schiff, 74, one of Israel's most respected and well-known journalists, died June 19 in Tel Aviv. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Mr. Schiff covered military and defense issues for the daily newspaper Haaretz for more than 50 years, serving as the paper's defense editor in recent years. He published numerous books about regional military and security issues and contributed articles to Foreign Policy, National Interest, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

"For more than 20 years, the smartest people in the White House, Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies -- loyal Republicans and Democrats alike -- would not just answer his phone calls but would seek him out," Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Mr. Schiff was a fellow, said in a statement. "There was almost nothing about the security equation between Arabs and Israel, Israel and the U.S., or the military that Zeev didn't know, understand, know the human story behind and understand the strategic value of."

David Landau, editor in chief of Haaretz, called Mr. Schiff "supremely important" to the paper. "He was definitely our most renowned commentator, whose name was known and respected in capitals throughout this region and the world," Landau said.

Mr. Schiff was born in France and immigrated to Israel as a child in 1935. According to his newspaper, he served as an intelligence officer in the Israeli military and studied Middle Eastern affairs at Tel Aviv University. After joining Haaretz in 1955, he was a military correspondent in Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, Cyprus and Ethiopia.

Mr. Schiff's 1974 book, "October Earthquake and the Yom Kippur War," earned Israel's highest journalism award, the Sokolov Prize. His 1990 book about the first Palestinian uprising, "Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising -- Israel's Third Front," written with Ehud Yaari, became an international bestseller.

His 1985 book, "A History of the Israeli Army, 1874 to the Present," was praised in the New York Times for examining "issues that most Israeli military writers prefer to dodge."

Survivors include his wife, Sarah Schiff, and two sons.

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