Israel Prize laureate Aharon Amir dies

Preeminent translator from English, French was one of the founders of the Canaanite movement.

Israel Prize-winning author and translator Aharon Amir passed away on Thursday at age 85. Amir, who was born in Lithuania, grew up in Tel Aviv and was a member of both the Irgun and the Lehi. He was one of the founders of the Canaanite movement, which saw geographical location rather than religious affiliation as the defining element of Hebrew or Israeli culture. He studied Arabic language and literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but translated works of literature mainly from English and French. Authors whose work he rendered into Hebrew include Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Lewis Carroll, Albert Camus, and Charles de Gaulle. Amir won the Tchernichovsky Prize for translation in 1951 and the Israel Prize for translation in 2003. Fellow author Eli Amir told Channel 10 that he had always "loved to listen to Aharon's Hebrew." No funeral will be held for Amir due to his decision to donate his body to medical research.