Vilnay (Vilensky), Zev

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VILNAY (VILENSKY), ZEV (1900–1988), Israeli geographer, author, and lecturer. Born in Kishinev, Vilnay moved to Palestine with his parents as a child of six and settled in Haifa. In the middle 1920s Vilnay became one of the principal guides in the walking tours (tiyyulim) over the country, popular among workers and youth groups; they included areas in Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, and Sinai. He was an instructor of military topography in the Haganah and later during the War of Independence (1948) and the Six-Day War (1967). He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1982 for yedi'at ha-areẓ ("knowledge of Israel").

Vilnay lectured under many auspices on Israel geography, ethnography, history and folklore. He published many books and pamphlets, including the following in English: Legends of Palestine (1932), The Guide to Israel (1955; 14 editions until 1971); The Holy Land in Old Prints and Maps (19652); The New Israel Atlas: Bible to Present Day (1968); and in Hebrew: Enziklopedyah li-Ydi'at ha-Areẓ (3 vols. (1956)); Yerushalayim 2 vols. (1960–62, new edition 1970); Tel Aviv-Jaffa … (1965); Yehudah ve-Shomeron (1968); Sinai, Aver ve-Hoveh (1969); Golan ve-Ḥermon (1970); Maẓẓevot Kodesh be-Ereẓ Yisrael (19632); and Ereẓ Yisrael bi-Temunot Attikot (1961).


Tidhar, 3 (19582), 1513–14; 17 (1968), 5239.

[Benjamin Jaffe]