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Gideon Mer

MER, GIDEON (1894–1961), Israeli expert on malaria and epidemiologist. Mer was born in Ponevez (Panevezys), Lithuania, and gave up the study of medicine in 1913 to immigrate to Palestine. On the outbreak of World War I he was expelled by the Turkish authorities as an enemy alien and went to Egypt, where he responded to *Trumpeldor's call for volunteers to found a Jewish brigade. He was one of the first to join the Mule Corps and served with distinction at Gallipoli. After the war, Mer obtained work in the anti-malaria service under Professor *Kligler, who persuaded him to return to Europe to complete his medical studies. In 1928, at the invitation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he rejoined Kligler on the staff of the malaria research station at Rosh Pinnah, and in 1935 was appointed professor.

In World War II, Mer served as an expert on malaria first with the Australian army in the Middle East and then with the British forces in Iraq, Persia, and Burma. In Burma he carried out the first large-scale experiments on the use of DDT. After the war he returned to Rosh Pinnah and in 1948 served as brigade medical officer in the Palmaḥ. With the founding of the State of Israel Mer was appointed head of the department of preventive medicine of the Israeli army, but returned to his research station at Rosh Pinnah in 1951. Mer's work in the field of malaria control earned international recognition. His greatest contribution to the study of the bionomics of anopheles was his method of age grouping of the female anopheles by the size of the ampulla of the ovary.


L. Dror et al. (eds.), Gideon G. Mer… (Heb., 1962 = Beri'ut ha-Ẓibbur, 5 (1962), 149–219).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.