The preeminent Israeli author Amos Oz died on Friday, December 28, after a short battle with cancer. He was 79.
Oz’s daughter, Professor Fania Oz-Salzberger made a brief statement: “My beloved father has just passed away from cancer after a swift deterioration.” He died “peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones,” she said, calling on the public to respect the family’s privacy.
“I met with Amos Oz several times,” Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) said. “Even when we argued (quite a bit!), he was a man of partnership; he supported the end of the occupation. He was not afraid to say what was on his mind and did it with unusual talent.” Oz was Israel’s most widely read and best-known author, and was mourned by MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) on Saturday as the country’s “greatest writer and a fighter for peace.”
Oz was among the founders of Peace Now, the movement that opposes Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and was a leading voice in the 2003 “Geneva Initiative,” an unofficial peace plan reached by leading Israeli and Palestinians. In recent years, he, along with fellow authors David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, became intellectual pillars of the country’s peace movement.