Bank of Israel Founder Dies Horowitz pictured in 1964. Photo: GPO Israel

August 10, 1979

Economist David Horowitz, the founder of the Bank of Israel, dies at age 80.

Horowitz was born in 1899 in Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now in western Ukraine. He was one of the earliest members of the Hashomer Hatzair socialist Zionist youth movement, and he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine from the city of Lviv in 1920.

He became a leader of the Histadrut labor federation and other Jewish worker organizations. He served as the director of the Jewish Agency’s economic department from 1935 to 1948 and was part of the Jewish Agency’s delegation to the United Nations in 1947. Upon statehood in 1948, Horowitz became the first director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Finance, a position he held until 1952, and helped resolve financial issues during the War of Independence.

Horowitz lobbied for the creation of a central bank to take over monetary policy and bank supervision from the Finance Ministry, and he was appointed the bank’s first governor after the Knesset passed the Bank of Israel Law in August 1954. He held the position until 1971, then was honorary chairman for the rest of his life. He advocated government policies promoting reduced spending, increased savings and higher productivity.