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The First President – Ben Shafferman, of blessed memory

The First President – Ben Shafferman, of blessed memory

President of the Diamond Exchange from 1946 to 1951.

Ben Shafferman was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1896. The family had immigrated to Switzerland at the beginning of the 19th century from East Prussia (Koenigsberg). The Shaffermans engaged in industry, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and similar fields and with the onset of the development of plastic, the family began working in this field too.

The Shafferman family was active in the early development of the electricity industry in the Middle East including Egypt and Israel (Palestine Electric Company).

Ben Shafferman started his professional life, in areas of shipping (German Levant Line), banking (including Israel Association Ltd., later Union Bank) and paper production.

With the start of the Jewish settlement in Israel in the 1930s and 1940s, he purchased land from Arab and Turkish landlords (Carmel Forest, Kiryat Ata, orchards in Pardes Hanna),  most of which were nationalized with the establishment of the State of Israel.

Ben Shafferman was active in diamond production in Israel from 1942 as a partner in the Asher Daskal diamond factory in Netanya. He was the owner of Trust Diamonds Ltd. – a diamond factory at the Exhibition Grounds in Tel Aviv.

From the outset of his career in the Israel diamond industry, Shafferman was involved in public activities. He was a member of the Israel Diamond Club and served as the first President of the "Polished Diamond Exporters' Association in Israel" which was established by virtue of mandatory law as an organization for diamond exporters. He resigned from this position in 1946 when he was elected first President of the Eretz Israel Diamond Exchange, which he had worked to establish.

He served as President of the Exchange until 1951 and in 1952 he immigrated to Canada. Thereafter he divided his time between Canada and the country of his birth, Switzerland. Whilst living in Canada, he was involved in various activities including real estate and investments in electric power stations.

Ben Shafferman passed away in Montreal, Canada, in 1974.

From the book "The Jewel in the Crown" by Shira Ami.

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