Dov Lautman, an esteemed Israeli philanthropist and entrepreneur, died Saturday at the age of 77. Lautman long suffered from ALS.

Born in Tel Aviv, Lautman studied engineering at MIT in the US, and became CEO of Israeli textile company Sabrina. He later founded Delta Galil Industries, served as the prime minister’s special envoy for economic development and foreign investment in the 90s, and worked on social affairs to promote peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.

In 2007, he was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.

“Lautman was one of the founders of modern Israeli industry and a pioneer of advanced technology and exporting,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Shimon Peres added in a eulogy at Lautman’s funeral yesterday, “All your life you dreamed, you fought, you built, you volunteered and you contributed.”

“You didn’t rest and you didn’t flinch. You didn’t seek power, but you always sought new peaks in service to your people. You enabled many to advance; you enthused many and you harmed no one. You didn’t waste time on trivia, but you were excited by great potential and you never gave in to despair. You never tired of waving the banner of hope.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid added, “Education is society and economy, education is the only way to build a proper, humane society. That was his will and we will maintain it.”

And Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said, “Lautman was a lover of the people of Israel and the state of Israel. In his eyes, a moral Jewish state meant, first of all, various forms of education for everyone. For him, full equal opportunity was the highlight and Jewish-Arab cooperation was obvious.”

Delta Galil CEO Isaac Dabah said in a statement, “Today, we all mourn the passing of Dov, who showed us how brilliant business management can be combined with social involvement, Zionism, and the highest public activity. I have been given the privilege of continuing the path of a man who was far more than a businessman, whose every act derived from the love of mankind, a sense of mission, and social understanding.”

 

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