Gideon Hamburger was born in Tel Aviv to Ernst and Margot Hamburger, who emigrated from Germany in 1935 and founded a small insurance agency in Tel Aviv, Hamishmar Insurance Service. He and his siblings, Yair and Nurit, grew up in the family business, which later became the Israeli insurance giant Harel Insurance and Finance Group. Gideon obtained his high school education at Whittingehame College in Brighton, UK, and later graduated from the Chartered Insurance Institute in London. Gideon managed the family’s insurance agency and rose through the ranks. In recent years, Gideon has served as President of the Harel Insurance and Finance Group, as well as Chair of Harel UK brokerage house in the UK.
His insightful work in the field, over five decades, has earned him the respect and esteem of the insurance world, in both Israel and overseas. He is a board member of the subsidiaries of Harel in Greece and Turkey, and was recently elected as the first Israeli non-underwriting working member of the Society of Lloyd’s.
In other public roles, he serves as President of the Israel-Switzerland, and Lichtenstein Chamber of Commerce; is an Honorary President and a member of the management of Variety Israel; is a Board member of the Israeli Opera and the Tel Aviv Museum; and is a member of the Board of Governors of Bar-Ilan University.
Gideon and his wife Hana have been active supporters of the Weizmann Institute of Science for many years, through the Israeli Friends of the Weizmann Institute of Science – which Gideon led as Chair from 2000-2006. In 2013, the Hamburger family established a lab for Prof. Yardena Samuels of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology, in loving memory of Gideon’s, Yair’s, and Nurit’s parents. The couple has also supported student scholarships, science education initiatives, and the Center for Experimental Physics.
Gideon has been a Board member of the Weizmann Institute since 1986, and a Life Member of the International Board since 2018. He has been an active member of the Institute’s most senior governing bodies since 1987, primarily as a member of the Executive Council (later, the Executive Board) and a two-term Executive Committee (now the Management Committee) member. In addition, he served on the Institute’s Audit Committee for more than 20 years, both as a member and as Vice Chair.