David Landau, a pivotal figure in Israeli journalism and the former editor-in-chief of Haaretz, died today in Jerusalem. He was 67.
Landau, who was born in the U.K., moved to Israel in 1970 and began working at the Jerusalem Post, where he stayed for 20 years as the paper’s political correspondent and later as managing editor. He joined the staff of Haaretz in 1993 and founded the newspaper’s English edition in 1997. He later served as editor-in-chief of Haaretz and until last year wrote a regular column for the paper.
Landau was also the Israel correspondent for the Economist and wrote several books about Israeli politics. He authored The Life of Ariel Sharon, a 2014 biography of the former Israeli prime minister, and co-wrote, among other books, Shimon Peres’ 1995 memoir, Battling for Peace. He was the first Israeli journalist to interview President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and was known as an outspoken leftist and an observant Jew.
Former President Peres said in a statement, “David Landau’s pen was dipped in conscientious ink – he was a man of absolute integrity, of principles and full objectivity who did not rush to compliment himself or deride others. His death is a painful loss but all that he wrote will remain a legacy of journalistic integrity in Israel.”
With Landau’s help, Peres wrote Ben Gurion: A Political Life, a Nextbook Press biography of his mentor and Israel’s first prime minister. Landau spoke with Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry in 2011 about Ben-Gurion, his realpolitik approach to leadership, and what lessons his example can provide to Israel’s leaders today.
Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn said today, “David was a reporter through and through, always on the hunt for a better story. He guided the paper through the Gaza disengagement and the Second Lebanon War, guided by his moral compass, seeking to end the occupation … Our joint trips with the prime minister’s entourage were among the best in my years of covering the diplomatic beat. David led us to big scoops on the way.”
Tal Trachtman Alroy is an intern at Tablet.