Former Israeli president dies at home

By James Martin, June 1, 2009

Professor Ephraim Katzir, eminent scientist and the fourth president of the State of Israel, has died at his home at the Weizmann Institute of Science at the age of 93.

He was president between 1973 and 1978. During his term he paid special attention to the importance of education in solving the country’s social problems.

He had previously served as Chief Scientist of the Israeli Defence Ministry. As well as training a generation of younger scientists, he translated important material into Hebrew and helped to establish a popular science magazine.

Professor Katzir was born in the Ukraine in 1916 and came to British-mandate Israel in 1922. After obtaining a Ph.D at Hebrew University, he served in the Israeli Army’s Science Corps, Hemed, founded at the start of the 1948 War of Independence, and for a time commanded it as a lieutenant colonel.

Among his scientific prizes was the Japan Prize in 1985 for developing a method for binding enzymes.

Last updated: 11:39am, June 1 2009