Sociologist Baruch Kimmerling, 'New Historian,' Dies at Age 67

Haaretz Staff
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Haaretz Staff

Hebrew University sociologist Baruch Kimmerling, one of the first to apply post-colonial theories to the Zionist movement, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He was 67.

Despite his lack of training as a historian, Professor Kimmerling was identified with "the new historians" who provided alternative views on Israel's history. He also studied Israeli power structures.

Defining himself as a "sociologist of politics in the wider sense of the term," Kimmerling was for many years a guest columnist at Haaretz.

He will be laid to rest in a secular funeral at Kibbutz Mishmoret at 2 P.M. today.

His wife, Diana, said yesterday that Kimmerling had been hospitalized several times due to cancer, "but last Thursday he decided he didn't want to be tossed around from one hospital to another anymore. He wanted to die at home."

Over the weekend he went into a coma and died on Sunday evening.

"He loved to stimulate thought, he had ideas that were astoundingly original. He was a human being, a friend and a father," she said.

Kimmerling was born in 1939 in Transylvania, Romania. He was disabled all his life due to cerebral palsy. He had speech difficulties and was confined to a wheelchair, yet traveled to conferences worldwide.

Kimmerling lectured almost 40 years in Hebrew University's Sociology Department, published nine books and hundreds of essays. This year he stopped teaching for the first time. Despite his criticism of Israel, Kimmerling defined himself as a Zionist.

"I built a new conceptualization of Israeli society that brought Zionism closer to a certain kind of colonialism," he said in an interview with Haaretz last year. He and his wife had three children.

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