Writer and journalist David Landau, former chief editor of the leftist newspaper Haaretz, passed away at the age of 67 on Tuesday evening in Jerusalem after a prolonged illness.
Landau was at the helm of Haaretz from 2004 to 2008, during which time he infamously ordered writers to go easy on former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – essentially ignoring the corruption charges being leveled at his sons – so as to further the 2005 Disengagement plan that expelled all Jewish residents of Gaza and from parts of northern Samaria.
Prior to his stint as editor-in-chief, he founded and edited the English edition of the leftist paper in 1997. He also served as a political columnist for Jerusalem Post for many long years, where he began to work as a young volunteer on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War, when he was a student in a yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Landau was born and raised in England, where he married his wife Jackie and then immigrated together with her to Israel.
Aside from his journalistic wowrk, Landau co-authored a biography on David Ben-Gurion together with Shimon Peres, as well as a biography on Peres himself. In recent years he also wrote for the Economist in Israel.
Around a year ago Landau completed a biography on Sharon that was published in the US. His book "Piety and Power" on haredi society received accolades abroad, and just months ago he earned the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
He notoriously courted controversy in 2007, when he told then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the US should "rape" Israel, and said he had "wet dreams" thinking about it, in a crass call urging America to impose a political settlement on the State of Israel against its will.
Landau leaves behind his wife, three children and eight grandchildren. His funeral will be held on Wednesday at Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem.