The Lithuanian Jewish writer Icchokas Meras died on Thursday at the age of 79 in Israel. He lived in Israel for the last forty years. Meras's books were translated to almost 50 languages and he contributed to the restoration and strengthening of Lithuanian-Israeli relations, according to Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel Darius Degutis. Meras was awarded some of Lithuania's highest decorations including the Lithuanian National Prize.In Israel, Meras received President’s Zalman Schazar literature prize in 1973, the Rafael literature prize in 1976, the Zionist federation literature prize in 1981, and the Israel President state literature prize in 1998Icchokas was a Holocaust survivor who was saved as a small boy by a Lithuanian family. Ambassador Degutis said that all of Lithuania was mourning Meras's death. "The president, prime minister, members of parliament, and the government are extending their condolences to his wife Frida Meras, daughter Mirijam and his beloved sister Janina Girsh," Degutis said in a written statement.