Samuel Segev, the Winnipeg Free Press Middle East columnist, has died in Tel Aviv, Israel, after a brief illness. He was 86.
Born April 15, 1926, in Palestine, he was wounded fighting in the 1948 War of Independence. He was a colonel in the Israel Defence Force reserve.
A journalist and author, he wrote for the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv and corresponded to the Free Press for 30 years. In 2001, he began writing a weekly column, which appeared Tuesdays on the Free Press comment pages.
He has published seven books, including The Iranian Triangle and Crossing the Jordan, Israel's Hard Road to Peace.
His last book, Eli Cohen, Alone in Damascus, was published two weeks ago. Film rights for the book were purchased by Hollywood producer Eric Eisner.
Segev was a visiting professor at Hofstra University in New York, N.Y.
He was predeceased by his Winnipeg-born wife, Phyllis Sair Segev.
He is survived by two sons and seven grandchildren.
"He was a wonderful, warm and wise person," his son Arnon Segev said in an email. "Dad took special pride in his association with the (Free Press), his colleagues and his devoted readers in the community who embraced him so generously."
Free Press comment editor Gerald Flood said he knows Segev will be missed -- readers called and made inquiries whenever his column failed to appear.
"His gift was that he could abstract the Middle East so that reading his columns was like watching chess matches unfold. I would tell people, 'If you read Sam Segev once a week, you know all you really need to know about what's happening in the Middle East.'
"It was true. Every day, thousands of words are written about the myriad developments and bewildering details of the Middle East. But Sam gave us the big picture."