The late Israeli author Amos Oz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli author Amos Oz, respected worldwide as one of his country’s leading intellectuals, passed away on Friday at the age of 79 from cancer.

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.

Oz’s illustrious writing career began with articles he penned for his kibbutz’s newsletter and the leftist newspaper Davar. He would go on to publish 40 books — which have been translated into 45 languages — and hundreds of essays.

His literary prowess earned Oz numerous prominent awards both at home and abroad, including the Israel Prize in 1998 and the French Legion of Honor the previous year.

Oz’s most famous works include the autobiographical novel A Tale of Love and Darkness (which was made into a film starring Natalie Portman in 2015), as well as In the Land of IsraelMy Michael, Black Box and Judas, among others. His final tome, which came out last year, was Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land.

As a young man, Oz did his mandatory IDF service in the Nahal Brigade, and he later fought as a reservist in the Six-Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Following the 1967 conflict, Oz became an early proponent of a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, and he was involved in peace activism throughout the rest of his life.

Oz is survived by his wife, Nily, and three children — Fania, Galia and Daniel.

On Friday, Fania eulogized her departed father as “a wonderful family man, an author, a man of peace and moderation.”

“May his good legacy continue to amend the world,” she tweeted.



by Barney Breen-Portnoy