One of the most prolific writers on Turkey, the Jews and the Arab World Jacob (Yaakov) M. Landau had passed away in Jerusalem on 12 November.
Landau was born on 20 March 1924 in Chișinău, Bessarabia (modern Moldova), which he left in 1935, moving to Palestine with his parents, Miriam and Michael Landau. They settled in Tel Aviv, where he studied at the Herzliya Gymnasium, ending his school career in 1942. He took his B.A. and M.A. in 1942–1946 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in history and Arabic studies. His M.A. thesis researched the nationalist movement in modern Egypt. It was supervised by Professor Richard Michael Koebner. For his Ph.D. studies he went to the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His Ph.D. dissertation there was on parliaments and parties in Egypt (published in book form in 1953). His supervisor was Professor Bernard Lewis.
Returning to Israel in 1949, he first taught history and the Arabic language at the Hebrew University’s experimental high school from 1949 to 1958, interrupting this to take up a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University with Professor H. A. R. Gibb in 1955–1956. During that year he was also a visiting lecturer in modern Middle East history at Brandeis University.
In 1958 he joined the Hebrew University’s department of political science where he lectured until 1993 when he left as a full professor emeritus. During those years he also served as a part-time professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, in addition to the Hebrew University. He also served as visiting professor at foreign universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey.
Landau was one of the founders of the Israel Oriental Society in 1949 and served as its first secretary. Member of the Israel Association of Political Science and its president in 1993–1998. Also member of the Centre International des Etudes Pré-Ottomanes et Ottomanes (Paris), honorary member of the Turkish Historical Society (Ankara) and others. Member of the editorial board of several journals and of the central editorial committee of the Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd edition.
Landau’s main themes of research are Ottoman and Middle Eastern ideologies and nationalist movements, political radicalism, minorities, pan-Islam, pan-Turkism, politics and language in Central Asia. His published works are 23 books. He has also edited 12 books and has written numerous book-reviews in specialized journals and various encyclopedias. His books and articles were published in ten different languages: Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian and Chinese.