David Landau, former editor-in-chief of Haaretz and founder of its English-language edition, passed away Tuesday in Jerusalem at the age of 67.
Landau, who was born in Britain, immigrated to Israel in 1970 and worked for 20 years at The Jerusalem Post, as both diplomatic correspondent and managing editor. In 1990, he led an editorial staff walkout in protest over political interference by the paper’s new owners.
Landau joined Haaretz in 1993 and in 1997 became the founding editor of the Haaretz English Edition, considerably raising the newspaper’s profile internationally. He served as Haaretz editor-in-chief from 2004 to 2008 and continued writing columns for the paper until last year.
Landau was also the longstanding correspondent of The Economist in Israel, and the author of a 2014 biography of Ariel Sharon and other books on Israeli current affairs.
"David Landau’s untimely death is a very great loss, not just for his family and his many friends, but also for Haaretz and for journalism in general," said Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken. "As a Haaretz staffer for many years, and especially during his tenure as editor-in-chief, David made an enormous contribution to the paper as an enlightened Zionist intellectual, a liberal in the full sense of the word and a believing Jew, and he demonstrated that there is no inherent contradiction in these things."
“David was a reporter through and through, always on the hunt for a better story,” said Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn. “He guided the paper through the Gaza disengagement and the Second Lebanon War, guided by his moral compass, seeking to end the occupation even through political detours. 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.”
Former President Shimon Peres, who collaborated with Landau on two books including his autobiography, described him as “a rare combination of an individual – religious in depth and liberal in breadth.”
Landau is survived by his wife Jackie and three children. Details of the funeral are to be announced.