Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date



Copyright Steve Hochstadt. This transcript is provided for individual research purposes only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Steve Hochstadt, c/o The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.

Scope and Content Note

Yosef Tekoah was born Yosef Tukaczynski in Perm in Byelorussia in 1925. His family, along with his 2 uncles and their families, moved to Harbin in Manchuria and then to Shanghai in the early 1930s, where they established a successful business in international trade. Tekoah received a law degree at the University l'Aurore in Shanghai, and then emigrated to the United States, where he earned a master's degree in international relations at Harvard. After emigrating to Israel, Tekoah joined the Foreign Ministry as a legal advisor. In 1953 he became Director of Armistice Affairs, in charge of the difficult negotiations with Israel's Arab neighbors. He occupied a number of diplomatic posts at the United Nations, in Brazil, and in the Soviet Union, before becoming Israel's chief delegate to the U.N. in 1968. He served until 1975, when he was named president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In 1981, Tekoah became Chancellor of Ben-Gurion University. He was working on development projects for the University when he died in New York in April 1991.