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Shiloaḥ (Zaslani), Reuben


SHILOAḤ (Zaslani), REUBEN (1909–1959), Zionist political officer and Israel diplomat. Born in Jerusalem, Shiloah possessed expertise on Arab affairs, combined with political imagination and a talent for analysis of international affairs. He was one of the yishuv's first emissaries to the Jews in Middle East countries (1931), and upon his return from Baghdad and Kurdistan he was at first active in the political field for the *Histadrut, later transferring to the *Jewish Agency's Political Department (1936). During World War ii, he coordinated the yishuv's war effort with that of the Allies; he organized the parachuting of members of the *Haganah into enemy territory, initiated intelligence operations against the Axis powers, and was active in rescue missions to save the remnants of European Jewry.

Upon the establishment of the State of Israel (1948), Shiloah formed its political intelligence service and coordinated it with military and security intelligence. In his role as adviser on special affairs to the foreign minister, he established secret contacts with Arab statesmen in an effort to achieve mutual understanding and peace. Shiloah led the Israel delegation that held negotiations over the cease-fire with Transjordan (1949).

After a term of service as minister at the Israel embassy in Washington (1953–57), Shiloah was appointed political adviser to the minister of foreign affairs with ambassadorial rank. His later years were spent in quiet diplomacy for achieving closer ties between Israel and the non-Arab countries of the Middle East and Africa.


A.I. Zaslansky, Yeḥi Re'uven (1960); D. Lazar, Rashim be-Yisrael, 1 (1953), 197–202.

[Katriel Katz]

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