David Lewis 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
David Lewis, the exceptional entrepreneur and philanthropist, head of the
Isrotel Group that put Eilat on the world tourist map, is dead at 87.
Lewis family, and especially David’s wife, Ruth, a woman with a distinguished,
kind presence, and David’s children and grandchildren have all enjoyed better,
more meaningful lives because of David Lewis. So did the Jewish Community and
the English people more generally, Israel and many individuals and institutions
in both countries.
David was always a gentleman to the core of his being,
a faithful Jew, a courageous and caring human being and modest to a
I have been privileged to enjoy David’s friendship for many
My institute, The Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress
has been a beneficiary of his largess. He did all he could to help us make
Israel economically viable and prosperous.
We met whenever David visited
Israel and could take time off from his many duties and
preoccupations. There was not one meeting in which the conversation did
not extend to the many interests of David’s, whether contemporary or historic,
and that did not display his multifaceted and detailed knowledge and strong
convictions and values, but above all his care for everything that touched his
life, and his warm humanity.
Like his namesake, David was a king and a
poet, a supreme leader in getting good works done, whether in business or in
charity, a poet in his nuanced understanding of people, in his empathy for them,
in the way he got involved in their life, always helping to make it better, to
enrich it in many varied ways, material and spiritual.
David was a
practical man; look at all that he has built, solidly, in times that were
shifting and uncertain, often dangerous. Look at what he did for Eilat – a
thriving city now, at the bottom edge of Israel that David transformed from a
backwater, struggling to survive, into a gem on Israel’s tourist map. Loot at
his pioneering enterprise, the sparkling spa he built on the Carmel range and
his newest love, the unique inn “Bereshit” (with its Biblical connotations) on
the rim of the majestic Grand Canyon of Israel, the Ramon Crater.
was a visionary – one would hesitate to call him a dreamer - because unlike even
the best of dreamers, he has managed to mostly translate his visions into good
And there are so many of them, too many to enumerate because the
list is so long and because nothing would have embarrassed David more than
praise for his works.
So please forgive us David if after you left us we
managed to embarrass you, but it could not be avoided. It is our duty of love to
talk in praise of extraordinary people, to hold them up as an example for all
and as role models for the young.
Many have loved you deeply, David,
because you were the kind of man who evoked love, not only for himself, but for
humanity, that you represented so honorably and magnificently.The writer
is the director of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress.