Novelist S. Yizhar dies at age 89

His controversial works often called into question the IDF's morality.

s. yizhar 298.88 court (photo credit: Courtesy photo)
s. yizhar 298.88 court
(photo credit: Courtesy photo)
Former Israel Prize winner, novelist and poet S. Yizhar died on Monday at the age of 89 from heart failure. He will be laid to rest on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the cemetery in Gderot. Yizhar, born into a family of writers, published his first book in 1938. His books Hirbet Hizeh and Ha'Shavui (The Captive) were his most famous works. In addition to his literary writing, he created a rich body of op-ed writing. His essays particularly gained fame starting at the time of the 1982 Lebanon War. His massive work Days of Ziklag, published in the late 1950s, completely changed the outlook for Hebrew prose on the one hand, and "war literature" on the other. The work earned him the Israel Prize at only 43, making him one of the youngest recipients of the prize. In 2002, Yizhar won the EMET Prize, which is an annual prize given for excellence in academic and professional achievements that have far reaching influence and significant contribution to society. The Prizes, which are given by the prime minister, total $1 million dollars per annum. Yizhar's writing is distinguished by a characteristic use of language, drawing the reader into his heroes' stream of consciousness as they employ a medley of high-flown language and street sayings. However, Yizhar's writing was highly controversial among the Israeli public, as his works often called into question the Zionist mythos and the morality of the IDF. Hirbet Hizeh was especially controversial, and many articles were written both in its favor and against it. The articles were later collected and published as a separate book. Yizhar is survived by a wife and three children.