Amos Oz, Author and Peace Advocate, to Be Laid to Rest

President Rivlin, a childhood friend of Oz's, said 'you were unafraid of being called a traitor. You saw it as a mark of honor' ■ Coffin displayed at Tzavta Theater in Tel Aviv ahead of his funeral

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin delivers a speech during a memorial service for late Israeli writer Amos Oz on December 31, 2018 in Tel Aviv.
Moti Milrod

Amos Oz will be buried Monday afternoon at 3 PM at Kibbutz Hulda following his death Friday. The coffin with his body was placed in the auditorium of the Tzavta Theater in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Hundreds of people have been passing before it, including fellow authors and intellectuals.

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President Reuven Rivlin, who is also a childhood friend of Oz's, said in his eulogy, "Several days have passed, and I still cannot find the words. Who to speak about, my Amos or our Amos?"

Passing before Amos Oz's coffin in Tel Aviv Monday
Moti Milrod

"When Amos writes about love and darkness he is writing about me. I too, Amos, felt that you weren't only writing too me, but about me," Rivlin said. "Because your writing was universal, and not just personal, you succeeded to tell our story that was far from us."

The president continued, through tears at times, "you were unafraid of being called a traitor. You saw it as a mark of honor."

Oz's two grandsons, Dean and Nadav, also eulogized their grandfather recalling his daily routine and tender moments from their childhoods. "To us you were a man full of warmth, overflowing with humor and magic. You knew how to tell an interesting story with a moral and always knew how to break the tension with a corny joke that we had heard dozens of times."

"Two years ago they called you a traitor, but you had already made the word your own," they continued, "Why would I desecrate this pure space with words like those? Outside there's a different war waging. The darkness is coming, from Bibi and the sewage flooding the media, and from suited figures in the highest windows of society… Dear, gentle, wise, beloved grandfather, your legacy, the struggle against extremism, is a legacy that I and many other will carry with us."

"You said in our last conversation that you're at peace with your life, but you're not ready to leave the world because it's just too interesting. You are not leaving us," they concluded. "Your voice echoes through your readers and your family."

Oz, an Israel Prize laureate who died from cancer at age 79 on Friday, will be buried at Kibbutz Hulda, where he came of age. His daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger says he passed on in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones.

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Amos Klausner was born in Jerusalem to a right-wing family, and moved as a teen to Kibbutz Hulda. He studied philosophy and literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and began publishing in 1961 at the age of 22; a year earlier he had married Nily Zuckerman with whom he would have three children.

Oz received a raft of awards in Israel and abroad such as the Prix Femina and Ordre des Arts et Lettres in France, the Frankfurt Peace Prize and the Primo Levi Prize in Italy. He was regularly touted as a favorite for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

He belonged to the Hebrew Language Academy and until some years ago was a literature professor at Ben-Gurion University.