Shiftan, Ze'ev

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SHIFTAN, ZE'EV (Ludwig ; 1920–1990), prominent Israeli geologist-hydrologist. Born in Görlitz, Germany, he grew up in Erfurt where his father Max (Moshe) was rabbi of that city's community. Having received a thorough general and Jewish schooling, Shiftan began studies in 1938 at the Breslau Rabbinical Seminary. Following *Kristallnacht he was taken on Nov. 10, 1938, to Buchenwald concentration camp. Freed when a Palestine immigration certificate was obtained for him, he emigrated to Palestine in Feb. 1939 and soon joined the Haganah. Leaning to the natural sciences, he found his way to geology, becoming a student, then assistant, of Professor Leo Picard. He lectured at the Hebrew University and the Haifa Technion. Concentrating on groundwater exploration and exploitation, he worked in the field and wrote papers and books. In 1966 he joined Tahal as consultant to its Hydrological Department and was for a time its head, working in Israel and other countries. The United Nations asked for his service and appointed him consultant in South America and elsewhere. Besides his scientific work he was active in social and cultural matters; he represented Israel in the B'nai B'rith world council and in January 1990 was elected president of its David Yellin Lodge of Jerusalem. On Feb. 4, 1990, he was among the nine killed in the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Egypt in which his wife, Yehudit, was also wounded.

[Efraim Orni]