Picture above of Amos Oz, taken by Mariusz Kubik, 2005
Tribute below by Yehuda Erdman, outgoing Chair of Meretz UK
I am writing an appreciation of Amos Oz from the perspective of Meretz UK,
recognising that there was never any formal link with him. He did not speak at
any of our events or joint events, as we never actually invited him (perhaps in
recognition that we simply were not in his league).
For me personally he was a mentor, and I have read most of his published work
more than once. To me he resembled an Old Testament prophet with the
religion taken out; he was consistently secular. What made his writing so
powerful, in my view, is that he captured the personality of various individuals
he portrayed in such detail and with so much sympathy that they became real
people. This in spite of the fact that he clearly wrote from his own life
experience, and again and again returned to themes from his boyhood and
adolescence in an autobiographical way.
The lesson for Meretz UK is to repeat for our benefit that his message of peace
and reconciliation not just with the Palestinians but between other groupings,
especially between men and women (he was a feminist writer), is still at the
forefront of Israeli society. There is so much still to do in many fields, but Amos
ploughed the lonely furrow, together with his contemporaries, AB Yehoshua
and David Grossman.
We have a huge debt of honour to him after a long life spent pursuing his ideals
that are close to ours. May his dear soul be bound to his friends and family that
preceded him to the hereafter.