Yaacov Shimoni (1914, Berlin- 1996, Jerusalem)
In 1934-1935 co-ordinated the "Hechalutz" youth movement in Germany, subsequently
immigrating to (at that time) Palestine. Joined Giv'at Chayim kibbutz, where he served as
teacher and school principal. Studied from 1938 to 1940 at the Teaching Seminary of the
Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Was among the founders of the Intelligence Service of the
Hagganah, where he headed the Arab Section in 1941-1942. Until the founding of the State of Israel, he worked in the foreign affairs department of the Jewish Agency, where he served as deputy head of department. In 1948 he served as the head of the psychological warfare
division of the Hagganah and of the Israel Defence Forces, where he initiated Arab
broadcasting. With the
establishment of the State he joined the Foreign Ministry, where he served in different posts, including: acting director of the Middle East Department (1948-1949); Director of the Asia Department (1949-1952); counselor for Arab affairs at the Israeli embassy in Washington (1952-1955); Minister (later first ambassador) to Burma, as well as non-resident ambassador
to Laos; Ceylon and Philippines (1955-1957); Director of the Eastern Europe Division (1957-
1960); Director of the Asia Department (1960-1964); Ambassador to Sweden (1964-1969); Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry, in charge of Asia (1969-1975); Ambassador to Switzerland (1976-1979). During the course of his career he participated in numerous negotiations with Arab states,
including the Rhodes Peace Talks. He also taught at the Hebrew University. Wrote numerous books and articles related to Arab affairs, the Middle East and Asia. Contributed to the
Hebrew Encyclopedia, where he also edited the Modern History of the Middle East section.
He and his wife Miriam (nee Schonbrunn, 1914-1982) were survived by 3 children.