Amos Oz z”l, Israel’s greatest living writer, died on December 28 at the age of 79. He lived the entire history of the State of Israel and brought it alive in his novels, essays and other books, and especially in his memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness (2002). He was also an integral part of Israel’s movements for peace and social justice. We reprint below a portion of the eulogy given by Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin.
“Amos, our friend. How dear you were to us. A classmate, a friend, an opponent and always, always an ally
in the love of this land, the love and concern for this state and its direction, for its people and its future.”
“How dear and important you were to the State of Israel, to Israeli society, to the world of literature. Your eyes that always saw so clearly, that looked at the world with both tenderness and focus, with clarity and with such hopes, deep from within and always a little bit from outside. With the clarity of your vision, with your trust in humanity and your love for people and with the richness of your precise and wonderful words, you built us a complete and everlasting library where everything is to be found. You created characters for us to love without limit and to hate without end, and those that inspired every feeling between. You told us about past, present and future. With precision, you put together whole passages of life, real places and those that never existed, men and women that were absolutely us or those that were as far away as possible from us.”
“‘A literature teacher must create readers,’ you said. As a man of letters, you tried to create people who were sensitive to their fellow humans, faithful to themselves, willing to move out of their comfort zones.”
“And what will we do now Amos, now that you are no longer? In your last book, you said that in one of the conversations with you ‘the way to bring the dead back to life is to invite them to join us from time to time, to make them a cup of coffee, to remember a few things with them, to try and make up with them a little, and to send them back to the darkness to wait for us patiently.’
“We will be sure to invite you again and again, Amos. You will always be with us.