Amos Oz: Acclaimed Israeli author dies at 79

Oz took a hard line against those sworn to Israel's destruction

Amos Oz, Israel's best-known author and an outspoken supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, died of cancer at the age of 79 on Friday, his daughter announced on social media.

His works included "In the Land of Israel", a work that chronicled his travels and interviews with people throughout Israel and the West Bank in the 1980s about the country's past and future; "My Michael", a novel about a troubled marriage in 1950s Jerusalem, and "A Tale of Love and Darkness". Much of his work, both fiction and non-fiction, explored kibbutz life and picked apart his characters' often complex relationships with Israel and modern politics. Oz won numerous prizes, including the Israel Prize and Germany's Goethe Award, and was a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Born as Amos Klausner to a right-wing Revisionist family in Jerusalem during the British Mandate era, Oz was drawn to Labor Zionism as a teenager and moved to Kibbutz Hulda in central Israel.

"Rest in peace, dear Amos".

Ben White, a journalist and the author of Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Israel/Palestine, pointed out in a tweet that in 2005 Oz described Israeli and Palestine as being like "a jailer and his prisoner, handcuffed to one another".

Netanyahu on Friday celebrated Oz as "among the greatest writers from the state of Israel". "You gave us great pleasure".

"We have not yet established the rules of the game in 50 years", he said.

Speaking to BBC Two's Newsnight in 2016 about the reaction to his views in his home country, he said: "I've been called a traitor many times in my life".

In recent years, Oz spoke out against the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shunning official Israeli functions overseas in protest at what he called the "growing extremism" of his country's government. "If people call Israel nasty, I - to some degree - agree".

"But if they carry on saying there should be no Israel, that's where anti-Zionism becomes anti-Semitism".

In a 2013 interview for Tablet Magazine, Oz, one of the most prominent figures on the Israeli left, was asked whether he was hopeful about prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Related:

Comments


Other news