Amos Oz, lauded Israeli author whose works included critically praised memoir A Tale and Love and Darkness which was made into the 2015 feature film, and an outspoken advocate for peace with the Palestinians, died of cancer Friday. His daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, confirmed her father’s death on Twitter. He was 79. “To those who loved him, thank you,” Oz-Salzberger wrote, adding he had died “after a speedy deterioration, in his sleep.”
Among his most acclaimed works are his 2002 memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness, which was adapted for the screen and directed by Natalie Portman, who also starred in the film. “It was a tale of love and light, and now, a great darkness,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement eulogizing Oz. “Rest in peace, dear Amos. You gave us great pleasure.”
Oz’s novel Panther in the Basement also was the basis for the 2007 film The Little Traitor, a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of the birth of the State of Israel, adapted and directed by Lynn Roth.
Oz published more than a dozen novels over the course of his career, including My Michael and Black Box, as well as collections of short fiction, works of nonfiction and numerous essays. His work has been published in 45 languages in 47 countries. He was awarded the Legion of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature, the Heinrich Heine Prize and the Israel Prize. In 2007, a selection from the Chinese translation of A Tale of Love and Darkness was the first work of modern Hebrew literature to appear in an official Chinese textbook.
Oz was one of the first Israelis to advocate a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict after the Six-Day War, doing so in 1967 article “Land of our Forefathers”. His support for the two-state solution led some to brand Oz as a traitor, for which he was quoted as saying he wore “as a badge of honor.”
Below is an 2016 interview on PBS News Hour, in which Oz reflected on Israel’s founding and future.
Oz is survived by his wife, Nily Zuckerman and their three children, Fania, Galia and Daniel.