Thursday, July 19, 2012 | return to: news & features, obituaries


Israel Prize winner Shlomo Bentin killed in Berkeley road accident

by tzipi shmilovitz,

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World renowned Israeli psychologist Shlomo Bentin, a guest lecturer at U.C. Berkeley, was killed on the afternoon of July 13 while riding his bicycle in Berkeley.

Bentin, 65, apparently was hit by a dump truck accidentally as he was cycling on Bancroft Way near the campus. Berkeley police officers dispatched to the scene said his helmet had been shattered.

Passersby and paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but he was declared dead a short while later at Oakland’s Highland Hospital.

Bentin was a world expert in cognitive neuropsychology and winner of the 2012 Israel Prize in psychology.

Shlomo Bentin
Shlomo Bentin
Born in Romania, Bentin came to Israel as a teen. He received his medical degree from the Technion University in Haifa, and his Ph.D. at the Hebrew University Medical School, where he later headed the neuropsychology department, specializing in face perception, attention and memory.

According to reports, the driver of the dump truck realized he had hit Bentin. He fled, but eventually returned to the scene of the accident, where he was questioned by investigators. He cooperated with the police and was not arrested.

Last year Bentin and his wife, attorney Miri Bentin, moved to Berkeley, where he continued his research on face perception. The couple was supposed to return to Israel in September to be near their three children and seven grandchildren.

The couple’s daughter, Einat Bentin-Kaplan, told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that her father was a sports enthusiast who enjoyed cycling and skiing.

“Father was a fascinating man with vast knowledge in various fields,” she said. “He was a warm person who always gave good advice. He was thrilled to receive the Israel Prize and considered it a great honor.”

Bentin traveled to U.C. Berkeley every year to be a guest lecturer within the Department of Psychology, according to the Daily Californian.

“Students really liked him,” Bentin’s son, Shai Bentin, told the Daily Cal. “He was a good father and family man. He affected so many people.  [The family is] getting letters from students we didn’t know existed and many of his co-workers.”

The campus was to hold a memorial honoring Bentin on July 18 at Tolman Hall, the campus’ psychology building, according to the Daily Cal.

The collision occurred near the intersection of Bancroft Way and Fulton Street, about one block west of Shattuck Avenue.

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Coats said the department was actively investigating the incident this week.

J. staff writer Dan Pine contributed to this report.


Posted by geneabarnes
08/02/2012  at  09:39 AM
On the heels of Shlomo

On the heels of Shlomo Bentin’s death, I feel like it is an important time to talk about bicycle safety and draw attention to people trying to make a difference.  I am thoroughly impressed with you Bike Accident Tracker.  Such a great tool to help the community determine where we need to make the roads safer for cyclists. More attention needs to be paid to the Ghost Bike movement, these memorials get people to asking questions, and are a reminder to keep each other safe.  I am currently working on a photo project entitled The Ghost Bike Project.  I am doing a fundraiser on kickstarter to fund a trip to finish the shooting for this project.  The Ghost Bike Movement sends a message, and I am so very glad that one has been installed at the site of this tragedy.  Many are removed after just a short span of time, I truly hope this one remains as a reminder for quite some time.

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