Amos Oz obituary

Israel 0 Comment 2

Leading Israeli writer, political activist and peace campaigner

A child of European Jewry, the Israeli writer Amos Oz, who has died aged 79, became the father of a Hebrew literature where the personal and the public overlapped. Oz was prominent as a supporter of the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s and in the debates that followed. Although he was a frequent critic of Israeli politics, he was shamelessly in love with the newly emerging modern Hebrew. “I feel for the language‚” he said, “everything that perhaps I don’t feel for the country.”

Oz was born into a Jerusalem household bursting with failed literary and intellectual ambitions, chiefly those of his father. His parents had arrived from eastern Europe in Palestine in the mid-1930s, when the country was packed with a highly competitive, multilingual European Jewish intelligentsia. Oz’s upbringing was coloured by this hothouse of debate and the rebellions against the British at the end of the Mandate. He was also imbued with the heroic ideal of “the new Jew”.

Related: Amos Oz: ‘I love Israel, but I don’t like it very much’

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