Michael Cohen, who served as general manager of the Israel Diamond Exchange for more than 25 years and helped shape it into a global force, died April 19 at age 97.
A lawyer by training, Cohen, who served as general manager from 1952 to 1978, was instrumental in negotiations to establish the diamond exchange on an empty lot in Ramat Gan, Israel, according to an IDE statement. Today, it is known as the Israeli diamond district or Little Manhattan.
“My father was present at the birth of the Israel Diamond Exchange as we know it today,” said his son Ehud, chairman of industry website IDEX Online, in a statement. “He was instrumental not only in facilitating the transfer of the exchange from southern Tel Aviv to its current location in Ramat Gan, but also in its exponential growth.”
During his quarter-century tenure as IDE general manager, Cohen managed the bourse as well as the Israel Diamond Exchange Works, the exchange holding company that manages the complex.
After he left the bourse, he continued to be involved in the industry through his legal practice. Ehud notes his father was lucid and active until his last day.
Michael Cohen is survived by his wife Devorah and sons Ehud and Yoram.