Ze'ev Schiff, the military commentator and Haaretz defense editor, died last night in Tel Aviv. He was 74.
To his many friends, Schiff was known as Wolfy. To his readers in Israel and the world, he was a brand name, a guarantee for reliable information and authoritative analysis. More than anything, Schiff was the quintessential Israeli military correspondent.
Remembering him last night, former defense minister Moshe Arens said: "Not on the right or the left, because he was above political disputes, objective as only he knew how to be. Nor among the many writers and analysts and the Israeli press. As professional and sharp-eyed as they come, he was superior to them all. 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."
Described by BBC World Affairs corespondent Paul Reynolds as "the most respected military analyst in Israel," Schiff wrote numerous books on Israeli defense issues including "A History of the Israeli Army," "Fedayeen," "Entebbe Rescue," "A Lexicon of the Israeli Army and Defense," "The Year of the Dove," and "La Guerre Israelo-Arabe."
His books have been published in Israel, the United States, and France, and have been translated into several languages, including Arabic and Russian.
Schiff also contributed to Foreign Policy, National Interest, Middle East Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Schiff served as a military correspondent in Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, Cyprus and Ethiopia. He won a number of journalism prizes, including the Sokolov Journalism Prize in 1975 for his book "October Earthquake and the Yom Kippur War." "Intifada," which he co-authored with Ehud Ya'ari, became an international bestseller after being published in 1990.
Born in France in 1933, Schiff immigrated to Israel with his family in 1935. He served as an intelligence officer in the IDF, studied Middle East affairs and military history at Tel Aviv University, and joined the Haaretz staff in 1955.
He became a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1984. For many years, he was chairman of the Military Writers Association in Israel. He was also a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Schiff is survived by his wife and two sons.
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