Ze'ev Friedman was born in Poland in 1944. In 1960, he moved from Poland to Israel. He began his sports career as a gymnast, but later switched to weightlifting. He was a member of Hapoel Kiryat Haim sports club.
In 1972, Ze'ev Friedman competed at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany as a weightlifter. He placed 12th, one of the best achievements of any Israeli athlete at the time. On September 5, members of the Palestinian Black September group broke into the Israeli team's dormitory and took hostage several Israeli athletes and coaches including Friedman. After protracted negotiations, the kidnappers brought the hostages to an airport via helicopter and killed them during an attempted rescue by Munich police and Bavarian border guards.
Groussard, S. (New York, 1975), The Blood of Israel: The massacre of the Israeli athletes, The Olympics, 1972 ISBN 0-688-02910-8