Entrepreneur philanthropist Dov Lautman succumbs to ALS

Israel Prize recipient for lifetime achievement and founder of Delta Galil dies at 77.

Dov Lautman, Israeli industrialist, philanthropist and Israeli Prize laureate, seen at his office in Tel Aviv on October 28, 2010. Lautman died after a long struggle with ALS. (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Dov Lautman, Israeli industrialist, philanthropist and Israeli Prize laureate, seen at his office in Tel Aviv on October 28, 2010. Lautman died after a long struggle with ALS. (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Government and industrial figures bid farewell to entrepreneur philanthropist and social activist Dov Lautman today, after he died yesterday morning in an Israeli hospital at the age of 77. An Israel Prize recipient for lifetime achievement, the Delta Galil founder suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for several years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Lautman “one of the founders of modern Israeli industry and a pioneer of advanced technology and exporting,” Ynet reported.

The prime minister also said he was a Zionist “who saw the promotion of education as both a personal and a national mission. Even when he became ill… he continued to pursue his work. May he rest in peace.”

Lautman founded Delta Galil Industries in 1975 and ran the company for many years. The company supplies many of America’s favorite labels and undergarment name brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Nike, and Hugo Boss.

In 2003, the Tel Aviv-born, MIT-trained Lautman was diagnosed with ALS. He was the president of IsrALS, the first and only address for ALS in Israel. Paralyzed by the disease, Lautman worked hard to advance research of ALS in Israel.

In 2007, he was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.

On Sunday (Nov.24), the Hebrew newspapers ran dozens of obituary notices — paid for by companies from across the spectrum — in honor of Lautman.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.