JERUSALEM -- Gershom Gustav Schocken, 78, editor and publisher of the respected and influential Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz since 1939 and one of his country's most acclaimed journalists, died Dec. 22 at a hospital in Tel Aviv. He had cancer.

He was active throughout his career on the influential Israel Editor's Committee and in liberal politics. He was one of the founders of Itim, Israel's national news agency, serving as its head from 1950 to 1955, and again from 1960 to 1962. He was named International Editor of the Year by the New York-based World Press Review in 1983.

In 1955, he was elected to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, as a member of the Progressive Party. He served until 1959.

Mr. Schocken was born in Zwickau, Germany, the eldest son of Shlomo Salman Schocken, a businessman and art collector who established the Schocken Publishing Houses.

He studied economics at Heidelberg University in 1932 and 1933. Later that year, when the Nazis came to power in Germany, Mr. Schocken left the country. He studied at the London School of Economics in 1935 and 1936, and settled in Palestine, where he joined the staff of the Anglo-Palestine Bank. His father purchased Haaretz in 1937, and the younger Mr. Schocken became a business manager at the newspaper.

Survivors include his wife, a daughter and two sons.