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Zeev Schiff, 74; Israeli editor, defense expert

June 21, 2007|From the Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Defense expert Zeev Schiff, one of Israel's most respected and well-known journalists, has died, his newspaper, the Haaretz daily, announced Wednesday. He was 74.

Schiff died Tuesday night, the newspaper said. It did not disclose a cause or place of death.

Although he had served as the paper's defense editor in recent years, Schiff covered military and defense issues for the paper for more than 50 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, Haaretz said.

"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," said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Schiff was a fellow. Schiff was also a senior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

David Landau, editor-in-chief of Haaretz, called 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.

In the Haaretz obituary, Moshe Arens, a former defense minister, said Schiff was "not to the right or the left, because he was above political disputes, objective as only he knew how to be.

"His articles were read by statesmen and politicians, generals and reservists, and they knew that he wrote the stark truth and how to listen to his views."

Born in France in 1932, Schiff immigrated in 1935 to what would later become Israel.

Haaretz said he was an intelligence officer in the Israeli military and studied Middle Eastern affairs at Tel Aviv University. After joining Haaretz in 1955, Schiff served as military correspondent in Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, Cyprus and Ethiopia.

His 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, co-written with Ehud Yaari, became an international bestseller.

Schiff was buried Wednesday in Tel Aviv. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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