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Israel Reichert

REICHERT, ISRAEL (1891–1975), Israeli botanist and agricultural scientist. Born in Ozorkow, Russian Poland, into a well-to-do Orthodox family, Reichert went to Palestine in 1908 and worked first as a laborer and then as a natural history teacher. He went back to Europe to study biology and plant pathology, returning to Palestine in 1921 to organize the plant pathology department at the newly formed Agricultural Experiment Station. In the 29 years he directed the department, it became a renowned research center in plant pathology, vegetable storage problems, disease control, mycology, bacteriology, virology, and lichenology. In 1942 Reichert joined the Hebrew University's new School of Agriculture at Reḥovot as a lecturer. From 1949 to 1959 he was professor of mycology and plant pathology. In 1938 he was a co-founder of the Palestine Journal of Botany. In 1955 he received the Israel Prize for natural sciences.

Reichert's early investigations were on cereal diseases such as rusts and smuts. He went on to diseases of vegetables and plantation crops – grapevines, citrus fruits, and bananas – and did the earliest pioneering work on the mushrooms of Ereẓ Israel. He created the Hebrew terminology for his field of work, and coined the term "pathogeography" to describe the application of eco-geographical principles to plant pathology and to disease control. He was a world authority on the fungi and lichens of the Near East, which he classified according to these principles. His main contribution was to bridge the gap between plant-physiography and plant-geography.


H.R. Oppenheimer, in: Israel Journal of Botany, 15 (1966), 83–85.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.