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David Leibowitz Dead at 65; Devised ‘davidka’ Mortar Used in War of Independence

David Leibowitz, who founded Israel’s home-made arms industry in 1948 with a three-inch mortar that had more bark than bite, died here yesterday at the age of 65. Mr. Leibowitz devised a mortar, popularly called “Davidka,” which had low explosive power but detonated with a report so loud that it created panic among Arab troops who were sure that Israel was using an atomic bomb. The weapon was used with great effectiveness during the War of Independence. The mortar is now a museum piece and is on display in public squares in Jerusalem and Safad.