Article - Israeli Authors and Poets
Israeli Authors and Poets
In the past two years, we’ve lost three of Israel’s greatest Hebrew writers. Each left a mark in his/her field, not just for their writing talent and excellent published works, but rather, and possibly even more so, due to their clear voices and involvement in Israeli society, from the establishment of the new State. Three generations characterized by a simultaneous mix of contradictions and parallels. Haim Gouri and Amos Oz, born in Israel prior to the State, reflected in their writings the country’s wars and the central questions of the new Jewish-Israeli existence after the War of Independence. Ronit Matalon, born in the State of Israel, reflected in her writings the condition of the individual, mainly the female individual, as a woman from Eastern descent driven to promote the status of women and preserve tradition in the renewed State of Israel.
1923 Tel Aviv – 2018 Jerusalem
Israeli poet, author, journalist and documentary film maker. Served as a commander in the Palmach pre-State military force and was among the poets of the “1948 Generation”. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew poetry in 1988.
Gouri’s works addressed constitutive events in his life and in the history of the land of Israel and the nation: the wars, the Holocaust and subsequent gathering of those who survived the horrors, alongside extremely personal poetry dealing with love, the passing of time and the fragility of the human body.
Two of his poems, Hare’ut (The Friendship) and Bab el-Wad became symbols of the essence of the war to establish the State, its costs and the importance of commemoration.
His poem “I am a Civil War” expressed him well as a man and as an artist; committed to preserving all components of one’s identity, with all of the tensions and contradictions among them. His works reflect deep love and compassion alongside profound criticism and a deep moral perception.
1939 Jerusalem – 2018 Tel Aviv
Amos Oz, an Israeli author and intellectual, wrote novels, novellas, short stories and children’s books in addition to articles and essays on literary, political, national and social topics. His works were translated into 45 languages, adapted for film and theater and he won dozens of literary prizes in Israel and abroad, including the Israel Prize (1998), the Goethe Prize (2005) and the Tolstoy Prize (2018).
His stories were mostly set in Jerusalem or on a kibbutz, each line expressing his great passion for the Hebrew language, his love of mankind and his deep understanding of the human soul, curiosity and imagination, sense of humor and extraordinary empathy for the characters he created.
Among Oz’s most well known works: My Michael, The Same Sea and A Tale of Love and Darkness.
Ronit Matalon was born in 1959 to parents of Egyptian descent and grew up in Ganei Tikva. She died in 2017 in Haifa, where she served as a professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and won the Bernstein, Neuman, EMET and Brenner prizes.
Matalon wrote short stories (Strangers at Home), novels (The One Facing Us, Sarah Sarah, The Sound of Our Steps), novellas (Uncover Her Face, And the Bride Closed the Door, Snow), essays (Reading and Writing), a teen novel (A Story the Begins with a Snake’s Funeral) and a play (The Sleepwalking Girls). Her movement among genres reflected her deep interest in the literary form.
Although she was among the first female writers to write at length about her Eastern identity, Matalon expressed her reservations about political stereotyping of identities on many occasions.
The portraits on the stamps are line drawings.
Haim Gouri Stamp
Photo of the portrait – Vardi Kahana; photo of the armored car in Sha’ar Hagai – Yaakov Saar, The National Photo Collection, Government Press Office; photo of red poppies - Shutterstock
Ronit Matalon Stamp
Photo of the portrait – Shai Ignatz; photo of the author in her study – Talia Berman; photo of ficus leaves - Shutterstock
Amos Oz Stamp
Photo of the portrait – Anna Weise; photo of the water tower at Kibbutz Hulda – kibbutz archive; photo of the stalks - Shutterstock