The Fourth President– Moshe Schnitzer, of blessed memory

The Fourth President– Moshe Schnitzer, of blessed memory

President of the Diamond Exchange from 1967 to 1993.

Lifelong Honorary President of the Diamond Exchange.

President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses 1968 to 1972 and 1978 to 1982.

Lifelong Honorary President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

Moshe Schnitzer was born in 1921 in Romania and immigrated to Israel in 1934. He attended the Balfour High School in Tel Aviv and later studied at the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University. In 1941 he became a member of the Irgun (military organization) and in 1948 he joined the Israel Defense Forces.

In 1942, he began working as a diamond cutter, soon advancing to the position of foreman; shortly thereafter he was elected chairman of the managers and clerks organization, where he organized a strike.

In 1944, he initiated and published "HaYahalom" (The Diamond) journal, the first periodical of the diamond industry (still in publication) and together with Elhanan Halperin he co-authored the first instruction book on diamonds in Hebrew, entitled simply "Yahalomim" (Diamonds).

In 1947, he played an active role in the unification of all institutions set up by the Israel Diamond Exchange and in 1949 was elected Vice President of the Diamond Exchange.

In 1964, while serving as Vice President of the Diamond Exchange, he simultaneously served for two years as acting President whilst the President Avraham Lifshitz, of blessed memory, was on leave of absence.

In 1967, he was elected fourth President of the Diamond Exchange and served in this capacity for 25 years until his resignation in 1993. Upon his retirement from the position of President he was awarded the title of Lifelong Honorary President.

In 1968, he was elected President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, the first time in the history of the diamond industry that an Israeli headed an international organization. He held this post until 1972 and as a result of his undisputed status in the global diamond industry he was reelected in 1978 for an additional term (whilst already holding the title of Honorary President of the Federation) .

In 1986, during the International Congress held in Israel, he inaugurated the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum which had been established at his initiative. The same year saw his election as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Israel Diamond Institute. He served as head of the directorate of both institutions until 2003.

Alongside his public service, Moshe Schnitzer developed his own businesses. In 1965, he was the first in the Israel diamond industry to be awarded the title "Outstanding Exporter" and in 1978 he was one of a small group of pioneering Israeli exporters who were awarded the title "Outstanding Exporter" on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the State of Israel.

In 1982 he founded the Schnitzer Foundation for Research on the Israeli Economy and Society at Bar Ilan University.

He was the recipient of many honorary degrees, among them an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University, the Order of King Leopold of Belgium (the oldest and highest royal order in Belgium), an award for his life work from the New York Diamond Industry, the title Dignitary of the Israel Diamond Industry. He was made an Honorary Citizen of Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan.

In 1998, when the State of Israel celebrated its Jubilee anniversary, the city of Ramat Gan honored him by naming the area adjacent to the Diamond Exchange complex "Moshe Schnitzer Plaza". In 2002, the Diamond Exchange decided to name its building complex "The Israel Diamond Center -Moshe Schnitzer Square".

In 2004, Moshe Schnitzer was awarded the Israel Prize for his distinguished contribution to the State of Israel and the Israeli society.

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