Dinitz, Simcha H.

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DINITZ, SIMCHA H. (1929–2003), Israeli diplomat and politician, member of the Eleventh Knesset. Born in Tel Aviv, Dinitz served in the Haganah and the idf. He studied political science at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio and received a B.Sc. in international relations and an M.Sc. in international law from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, d.c. In 1958 he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, first in the Information Department and from 1962 as deputy director general. In 1963 he was appointed as Golda Meir's political secretary and was twice a member of the Israeli delegation to the un General Assembly. In 1966–68 he served in the Israeli Embassy in Rome and 1968–69 in Washington in charge of information. In 1972 Golda Meir appointed him director general of the Prime Minister's Office, and at the end of November 1972 he was appointed ambassador to the U.S., remaining in office through the Yom Kippur War and the beginning of the peace process with Egypt, playing an important role in arranging for the American airlift of weapons to Israel in the course of the Yom Kippur War and participating in the team that negotiated the Camp David Accord in September 1978. During his service in the U.S., Dinitz developed close relations with Henry *Kissinger when the latter served as President Nixon's national security advisor and then secretary of state. In the years 1979–84 Dinitz held the position of vice president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1984 he was elected on the Alignment list to the Eleventh Knesset, but resigned from the Knesset in March 1988 after being elected chairman of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency, a position he held in 1986–5. In this period he oversaw the opening of the gates of the former Soviet Union to Jewish emigration, and Operation Solomon, in which 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in a single day in May 1991.

Dinitz was forced to resign before his term was over due to charges brought against him for allegedly using a Jewish Agency credit card for personal purchases. In 1996 he was found guilty by the District Court of Jerusalem for fraudulently expropriating $22,000 in this manner, but the following year was exonerated by the Supreme Court on appeal.

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]