24 October 2019 - 25 Tishri 5780 - כ"ה תשרי ה' אלפים תש"פ
Renowned Israeli poet Amoz Oz dies E-mail

Many hundreds of people bade a final farewell to renowned Israeli author Amos Oz at a memorial service in Tel Aviv on 28 December. He was 79, and died after a battle with cancer.

The funeral was held a few days earlier on 21 December and he was buried at Kibbutz Hulda, the communal farm in central Israel where he had lived for many years.

Oz was a leading figure in Israel’s peace movement, revered by Israel’s dovish left wing as an eloquent and outspoken advocate of peace with the Palestinians. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, politicians, stage actors and other cultural figures attended the funeral, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a message expressing his condolences.

Oz wrote dozens of books, including a well-received 2002 memoir, and won numerous literary prizes in his half-century career. He was also a novelist, a journalist and a former professor of Hebrew literature at BenGurion University.

In all the author of 19 works of fiction, hundreds of essays and articles about modern Israel and a longtime candidate for the Nobel prize for literature, Oz was best known for his novels, including Black Box, In the Land of Israel 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 – reflective of his own.

“My beloved father passed away from cancer, just now, after a rapid deterioration, when he was sleeping at peace, surrounded by the people who love him,” wrote his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, announcing his death on Twitter. “To those who love him, thank you.”

“Sadness has descended on us,” said Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, calling Oz “our greatest writer” and “a giant of the spirit”.

Historian Simon Schama also paid tribute to Oz, calling him “a hero of mine, a moral as well as literary giant; a light to Israel and all who care for truth and justice.” He wrote: “His life was a blessing and his work will be with us forever.”

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