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Israel’s most famous author, Amos Oz, dies at 79

Amos Oz, novelist, journalist and intellectual internationally recognized for novels such as ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ and ‘Black Box’

Amos Oz (Photo Haim Zach)

Amos Oz, Israel’s most internationally recognized novelist died Friday at the age of 79 from cancer. He is survived by his wife, Nili, and three children – Fania, Galia and Daniel.

Oz is the author of 19 books of fiction. His works have been translated into more than 40 languages. Oz  In recent years, Oz has been considered as one of the pillars of Israeli literature, culture, and society. He was best known for novels including the novel “A Tale of Love and Darkness” (2002) which tells the story of his family; “My Michael” (1968) and “Black Box” (1987). His books are compulsory reading in Israeli high schools for matriculation in literature. source of inspiration for his future works, primarily “A Tale of Love and Darkness,”

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Oz, a longtime candidate for the Nobel prize for literature, won dozens of literary prizes in Israel and over the world, including the Israel Prize, the Brenner Prize, the Franz Kafka Prize, Italy’s Primo Levi prize and Goethe Prize, considered the second most important prize after the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 2018 he won the Tolstoy Prize, one of Russia’s most prestigious literary prizes, for his novel 2016 “Judas.”

Announcing his death on Twitter on Friday his daughter, historian Fania Oz-Salzberger wrote “My beloved father, Amos Oz, a wonderful family man, an author, a man of peace and moderation, died today peacefully after a short battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his lovers and knew it to the end. May his good legacy continue to amend the world.”

Born Amos Klausner in Jerusalem in 1939, Oz father literary scholar Yehuda Aryeh a Lithuanian, his mother Fania Mussman was Polish. When he was 12, his mother killed herself and two years later, he joined a kibbutz Hulda, adopting the surname Oz (courage in Hebrew). He made his military service in the Nahal Brigade. Oz achieved a BA in literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Oxford. In 1986, he left the kibbutz with his family and moved to Arad. Oz lived in Tel Aviv in his final years.

Throughout his life, Oz made public his progressive views on Israeli political and social issues. His concerns have been the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and most identified with the Zionist left in Israel.

He told BBC in 2016: “I’ve been called a traitor many times in my life. I think I’m in wonderful company. History is full of people, men and women, who happened to be ahead of their time and were accused of treason by some of their contemporaries.”

Despite being raised in an irreligious home, according to the Guardian, Oz developed a fascination with religion. In 2016 he told the Guardian that he began studying the New Testament as a teenager: “I realized at the age of 16 that unless I read the gospels, I would never have access to Renaissance art, to the music of Bach or the novels of Dostoevsky. So in the evenings, when the other boys went to play basketball or chase girls – I had no chance in either – I found my comfort in Jesus.”




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