The writer and journalist Amnon Dankner died Friday of a heart attack, aged 67, in his Ramat Hasharon home. He is survived by a wife, two sons, and five grandchildren.
During his career, Dankner wrote for many of Israel's daily newspapers including Haaretz, Maariv, Davar, and Hadashot. He was editor-in-chief of Maariv from 2002 to 2007.
Dankner was born in Jerusalem in 1946. Even though family was secular, his parents, proprietors of the Cafe Allenby, sent him to the Maaleh religious school, where he was in the same class as writer Haim Beer and philosopher Avi Ravitzky. In the army, he served in the Nahal corps, which combines work in civilian communities with military duty, and following his military service, he studied law at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In the 1970s, Dankner was the spokesman of the Education Ministry and thereafter the spokesman of the Jewish Agency. He was a reporter for Haaretz, the Washington correspondent for the now-defunct Davar, a columnist at Hadashot (also now defunct), and in 1997 he moved to Maariv. Over the years, he also starred on current-events programs on television, like "Popolitika" on Channel 1 and "Council of Sages" on Channel 10.
His first book was the thriller "Don't Shoot the President," following which he published about a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, most of which were translated into English. Among them are "Berman, Why Did You Do That to Me?," "The Summer of Rina Oster," "Sherman's Winter" and "The Boneless."
Dankner, who was born in Mandatory era Jerusalem, discussed his memories of the city during an interview with Haaretz less than a year ago and reflected upon how his childhood there influenced his future career choices.
"At least two days a week I head up to Jerusalem," Dankner told Haaretz. "I'm a sick person, and if I don't touch Jerusalem stone during the week, I feel enervated." He continued, "I grew up downtown where there used to a be a synagogue. From the house's western window one could see the synagogue, and so I became a journalist. From the eastern window one could see the beautiful scenery of Jerusalem, and so I became an author...If [my wife] Miri weren't so stubborn, I would move [to Jerusalem] tomorrow."
Dankner lived with his wife Miri in a large house in Ramat Hasharon, and has two children - Yoav, 38, and Itai, 35 - and five grandchildren.