Press Release

IDI Mourns the Passing of its Chairman, Secretary George Shultz

It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that the Israel Democracy Institute acknowledges the passing of Secretary George P. Shultz, one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century.

Secretary Shultz co-founded IDI shortly after stepping down as Secretary of State, and went on to establish the Institute’s International Advisory Council and serve as the Institute's Honorary Chairman until his passing at the age of 100.

Secretary Shultz was not only an American patriot who served in numerous senior positions, including Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of State, but also a true and steadfast friend of Israel and the Jewish People. During the 1980s, Secretary Shultz played a key role in designing the policies that led to the peaceful end of the Cold War and the opening of the gates of the Soviet Union to large-scale Jewish immigration to Israel. Today, as we face one of the worst economic crises in our history, we recall the important role played by Secretary Shultz thirty-five years ago when hyper-inflation threatened Israel's economy and he provided us with the experts and expertise that helped our country weather that crisis, liberalize the economy and emerge stronger than ever.

Secretary Shultz's commitment to Israel's security and its democracy never wavered. He holds a special place of honor in the annals of Israel and the Jewish people.

IDI President Yohanan Plesner:

"Secretary Shultz was not only a great statesman, economist, businessman and academic, but also a stalwart friend of Israel. After retiring from a long and distinguished career in public service, he expressed his enduring commitment to Israel by readily agreeing to help establish a 'think-and-do tank,' as he called it, dedicated to preserving and strengthening Israel’s embattled democracy. Never losing site of the fragility of our country's fledgling democracy, Secretary Shultz foresaw the need for an independent, non-partisan think-tank that would provide Israeli decision-makers with policy proposals based on data, research and expertise.

Secretary Shultz provided the Institute's leadership with sage advice over the three decades of his involvement. His extraordinary commitment to IDI culminated in the establishment of our International Advisory Council, which he chaired ably until 2014. He was a great man but also a mensch. Every hour spent in his presence was simultaneously a seminar in world history and a practical course in leadership. We are full of gratitude for the man and his many contributions. Our heart goes out to his beloved Charlotte, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May his memory be a blessing."