The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, who passed away on Friday at the age of 79 after a battle with cancer.
Oz was one of the most influential writers in Israeli history, and the words, ideas, and colorful characters he created have had a lasting impact on the way both Israelis and non-Israelis view the state today.
He was born Amos Klausner in Jerusalem in Mandatory Palestine in 1939, and his deep love for Israel, and nostalgia and longing for what he believed it should be shone strongly throughout his work.
Oz was a passionate supporter of the two-state solution, and often critical of the policies of the State of Israel. Despite his strong political ideas, and disagreements with many, he was cherished as a national figure and embraced as an icon of Israeli literature and thought by people across the spectrum.
Throughout his life, Oz wrote dozens of Hebrew-language books, including novels, novellas, and collections of short stories, and some 500 articles and essays for Israeli and international periodicals. His memoir, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” published in 2002, was an international best-seller.
Oz won several prizes for his work in both Israel and abroad, including the Israel Prize, the Prix Femina and Officier des Arts et Lettres in France, the Frankfurt Peace Prize, and the Primo Levi Prize in Italy. For years, he was considered to be a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature.
Amos Oz’s legacy will continue for years to come, and he will forever be remembered as a face of Israel in its first 70 years of creation.