Amos Oz, one of Israel’s prominent literary figures, has passed away.
By: JNS and United with Israel Staff
Israeli author, journalist and intellectual Amos Oz died on Friday at the age of 79.
“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,” tweeted Fania Oz-Salzberger. “He was surrounded by his lovers and knew it to the end. May his good legacy continue to amend the world.”
During his five-decade career, Oz wrote about the Jewish state’s history—from its founding in the aftermath of the Holocaust to its internal politics such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where he was an early proponent of the two-state solution following the 1967 Six-Day War.
His most notable works, which have been published in 45 languages, included novels My Michael, Black Box and Judas, in addition to his 1983 nonfiction book In the Land of Israel.
One of his more recent books, A Tale of Love and Darkness, was made into a feature film in 2015 starring Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman.
Oz earned numerous awards, including the Bialik Prize, Israel Prize, France’s Prix Femina and Officier des Arts et Lettres, Italy’s Primo Levi Prize and the Frankfurt Peace Prize.
He was born in Jerusalem in 1939. In 1960, Oz married Nily Oz-Zuckerman and had three children.
Tributes poured in following the news of Oz’s death.
French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy tweeted, “Often, in the tragic moments, when the certainties seemed to wobble and the ground was shirking, I wondered: what does Amos Oz think? What does Amos Oz say?”
“’#Israel, which was born upon dreams and hope,’ ” tweeted the Italian embassy in Israel. “Deeply saddened by the passing of #AmosOz. Our heartfelt tribute to one of Israel’s leading authors. His strong commitment for #peace will not be forgotten.”
‘What Will We Do Now, Amos?’
President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Oz: “Amos, our friend. How dear you were to us. A classmate, a friend, an opponent and always, always an ally in the love of this land, the love and concern for this state and its direction, for its people and its future.”
“How dear and important you were to the State of Israel, to Israeli society, to the world of literature. Your eyes that always saw so clearly, that looked at the world with both tenderness and focus, with clarity and with such hopes, deep from within and always a little bit from outside. With the clarity of your vision, with your trust in humanity and your love for people and with the richness of your precise and wonderful words, you built us a complete and everlasting library where everything is to be found. You created characters for us to love without limit and to hate without end, and those that inspired every feeling between. You told us about past, present and future. With precision, you put together whole passages of life, real places and those that never existed, men and women that were absolutely us or those that were as far away as possible from us.”
“‘A literature teacher must create readers,’ you said. As a man of letters, you tried to create people who were sensitive to their fellow humans, faithful to themselves, willing to move out of their comfort zones.”
“And what will we do now Amos, now that you are no longer? In your last book, you said that in one of the conversations with you ‘the way to bring the dead back to life is to invite them to join us from time to time, to make them a cup of coffee, to remember a few things with them, to try and make up with them a little, and to send them back to the darkness to wait for us patiently.’
“We will be sure to invite you again and again, Amos. You will always be with us,” he concluded.
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