Simcha Lustig, former chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, passed away suddenly on April 27 at the age of 71.
Throughout his career, Lustig was active in the Israeli diamond industry and served in many key positions in the Israel Diamond Exchange and the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association. From 1973–1992, he was a member of the board of directors of the Israel Diamond Exchange, reaching the position of vice president. Lustig was also an active member of the board of directors of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association.
During the Third International Rough Diamond Conference in February 2008, Lustig was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Israeli Diamond Industry, and was honored with a standing ovation. In July 2008, he was awarded the title Dignitary of the Industry by the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association.
IDI chairman and IsDMA president Moti Ganz called Lustig, a DTC sightholder for many years, “a visionary and a leader.” IDE president Avi Paz said, “Simcha Lustig was a hero of Israel; he was a hero in battle, a hero in business, and a hero in leadership.”
Simcha Lustig began his career in the diamond industry in 1958, when he joined the family business, which was one of the first diamond polishing plants in Israel. Later he founded his own company, Moshe Lustig Diamonds (Paldico 1942) Ltd., named after his late father, and concentrated on Far Eastern markets. This company became one of the three largest exporters of polished diamonds from Israel.
Lustig held a partnership for 15 years with Marvin Samuels, of Premier Gem Corp. of New York, called Lustig – Samuels Diamond Manufacturers, to manufacture large diamonds for American and Far Eastern markets.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1937, Lustig volunteered for the paratroopers unit in the Israel Defense Forces and was seriously injured during his military service. Although confined to a wheelchair since that time, Lustig maintained an active lifestyle. He was a table tennis champion, as well as a member of the Israeli basketball team, and he won a bronze medal in the Paraplegic Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964.
Lustig was active in a variety of nonprofit organizations, especially those devoted to children and the disabled, and he donated to many charities.
A devoted family man, Lustig leaves behind his beloved wife Naomi and daughters Ronili, Daphna, and Tamar.