Former 'Maariv' editor-in-chief Dankner dies

After Magen David Adom efforts to revive him fail following a heart attack, Amnon Dankner passes away at the age of 67.

Amnon Dankner 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Amnon Dankner 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Amnon Dankner, a former editor-in-chief of the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv and more recently the lead columnist in the magazine of The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister publication, Sof Hashavua, passed away at the age of 67 Friday night after unsuccessful efforts by a Magen David Adom team to revive him following a heart attack.
Dankner was declared deceased after an hour and a half of unsuccessful resuscitation efforts in his home in Ramat Hasharon. He will be laid to rest Sunday afternoon at the Morasha cemetery.
Born in Jerusalem in 1946, Dankner was a key figure in the Israeli news scene for decades. After studying law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dankner served as the spokesman for the Education Ministry under then minister Yigal Alon and later for the Jewish Agency.
Dankner reported and wrote columns for Davar, Hadashot, Haaretz, and Ma’ariv. He moved up the ranks at Ma’ariv, eventually becoming the editor-in-chief in 2002 before retiring in 2007.
Throughout his career, Dankner was no stranger to controversy. He stirred up emotions with columns that attacked the Right and defended his friends MK Arye Deri (Shas) and former prime minister Ehud Olmert following their convictions.
When Olmert was cleared of most of the charges against him, Dankner made headlines by calling for State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to commit suicide. He accused Lador of forcing Olmert’s resignation, which he said changed the lives of millions of Israelis.
Olmert said Saturday that it was hard for him to accept that his friend was gone, adding that he spoke to Dankner on Friday and that he was completely well.
The former prime minister said Dankner was full of life and intellectual curiosity and possessed an incredible amount of knowledge on a wide variety of issues.
Dankner was a regular panelist on television shows alongside his close friend, the late justice minister Yosef “Tommy” Lapid. The last column Dankner wrote for Sof Hashavua defended Lapid’s son, Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
In a long Facebook post under the headline “Uncle Amnon died,” Lapid wrote that “his heart, which was always so soft and relaxed, suddenly stood silent.” Lapid called himself a lucky man because he knew Dankner and said that although he was angry at him for leaving prematurely, he was happy he left at his intellectual peak.
“I still don’t know what a world without Dankner will look like, but I am sure that from now on it will be more boring,” Lapid wrote.
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich said that although she disagreed with Dankner on almost everything, she respected him for making life more interesting, amusing and rich. She praised his wit and his sense of humor.
Dankner is the author of over 10 books, including a controversial biography of Dahn Ben-Amotz, a fellow Israeli broadcaster and journalist, who he revealed had sexual relations with underage women.
He is survived by his wife Miri, his sons Yoav and Itai, and five grandchildren.
View Dankner's last column here (Hebrew)