Author and satirist Ephraim Kishon passed away late Saturday night at the age of 80.
Kishon died in Switzerland, apparently of a heart attack, with his third wife Lisa by his side. His coffin will be brought to Israel on Sunday, where he will be buried in the cemetery on Tel Hai street in Tel Aviv, where writers and artists are traditionally laid to rest.
Kishon, one of Israel's most prolific writers, was born in Budapest and was deported to a Nazi concentration camp in World War II. He immigrated to Israel in 1949. "They made a mistake they left one satirist alive," Kishon later said, summing up the period in his book "The Scapegoat."
Kishon's first satire published in Israel was "The Blaumilch Canal" in the newspaper Davar.
In the 1950s, he started a regular column in Maariv. In the 1960s, Kishon began working in film, writing and directing "Salah Shabati." In the last three decades Kishon became known throughout the world as a successful author and playwright. His works have been translated into 37 languages. In recent years, several of his best-known books were reissued, and a new play of his came out a month ago.
Kishon was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in 2002, for his unique contribution to society and the state. The judges panel described Kishon as "a light rescued from the fire of the Holocaust, who scaled the heights of satire in the world."
They also praised Kishon's work for reflecting Israeli society and rendering concretely the socioeconomic distress, unemployment, poverty and harsh living conditions of immigrants in the state's formative years.
Kishon is survived by his wife, three children Rafi, Amir and Renana and five grandchildren.