MembersAmoz Oz: The Passing of an Israeli Icon

Leaving behind a legacy of 40 books and hundreds of articles, some of which appeared in 45 different languages, Amos Oz (b. 1939) passed away on December 28 at the age of 79.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Amos oz
Photo: Tomer Neuberg / Flash90

Oz is perhaps the best-known Israeli novelist in the world. He had amassed so many awards that international institutions would give him prizes in order to gain recognition for themselves.

For Israelis, however, Oz will be remembered as the oracle of the left. Among those who agreed with him, Oz represented a waning ideal always just out of reach. Gentle, handsome, intellectual, a master of the Hebrew language who advocated for a just society and routinely condemned the “unjust occupation,” Oz personified for this crowd what Israel should be.

Oz wrote ceaselessly on Israeli society, at the same time criticizing and caressing it. As much as he didn’t like the Israeli presence in the West Bank, Oz refused to join the post-Zionist trend that wants to strip Israel of its Jewish foundation. Sharp-tongued as he was, Oz remained an avid Zionist who chastised the right for compromising the Jewish character of Israel by its desire to annex areas heavily populated by non-Jews.

For those who didn’t agree with his political views, Oz represented the “white tribe” – the elitist...

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