'Shocking Untruths': Amos Oz’s Daughter Rejects Sister’s Claim That He Abused Her

Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich
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Fania Oz-Salzberger, a professor of history and daughter of author Amos Oz.
Fania Oz-Salzberger, a professor of history and daughter of author Amos Oz.Credit: Karl Gabor
Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich

Galia Oz’s allegations of abuse by her father, the late author Amos Oz, were rejected by her sister, Fania Oz-Salzberger, in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

In the post, which had the headline “Something disguised as truth,” Oz-Salzberger responded to the accusations by her younger sister that appear in her book, “Something Disguised as Love,” two weeks after the accusations made waves throughout the country and beyond.

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“We have reached the point where the silence is much more painful than speaking, for both myself and for those I love,” wrote Oz-Salzberger, a history professor. “So I must not continue to remain silent. No longer ‘noble,’ but here I stand. I am obligated to tell the truth as I know it. Not on behalf of father’s memory. Father’s memory will meet its fate, in the end of days, until it comes to an end and he has no more readers, those who love or hate him. I’m writing here on behalf of life, and also in the name of the value of truth. I have no other moral choice.”

Oz-Salzberger recounted the sisters’ childhood, before their younger brother Daniel was born, and completely rejects her sister’s claims about a series of “sadistic abuses.” Of the three violent incidents described in “Something Disguised as Love,” Oz-Salzberger said she only remembers one well – and that is “because it was so traumatic. So unique. So different from the father we knew. She was eight years old and I was 11 years old.”

As for another incident, she wrote that she was not present, but “about the details of this difficult matter, I believe Galia. There is only one problem: These are the only two cases in which father was violent to Galia. This is according to Galia’s book, and according to my memory.” As for violence directed at their mother that her sister describes in her book, Oz-Salzberger denies it totally.

Oz-Salzberger later describes their childhood, on Kibbutz Hulda and during the year they spent at Oxford University – and their loving and embracing father and the “family lexicon” containing sentences that were said regularly with a smile – and were turned in Galia’s book into “means of oppression on father’s part. I have no explanation for it. Such is the terrifying alchemy that eats away even at the best memories, [that] corrupts and consumes,” she writes.

She also described the changes in her sister as a young girl of 10, who responded to her parents and big sister with anger, as well as the atmosphere in their home, her parents’ background and the way in which it came to expression in the education and raising of the children.

“They made a million of mistakes the first time, with me and with Galia, and fewer mistakes – but they definitely made them – in the second round, with Daniel,” she wrote. “And of the three of us, with Galia a disaster occurred. Bereavement and failure … Galia learned how much words can startle, anger, and most of all, hurt. Her enormous talent, which equals that of Daniel and exceeds mine by a lot, put a spell on the audience, but it was a dark spell. I remember myself, from about 14, split into pieces under the rod of her language, my tongue silent in its humiliated mouth, and I was defeated. When their turn came, father and mother would answer her in their own harsh words. Sometimes father became silent and broke out crying,” she wrote.

“Around then, I began being afraid of her, and the fear never passed until my final expulsion from her life in 2015,” she said. “I wasn’t afraid of her at every moment. We still had moments of sisterhood, humor, openness, comfort. But the fear grew and accumulated, because her angry moments were sudden, exacting and petrifying,” wrote Oz-Salzberger.

“It happened when I opposed what she said or her wishes,” she said. “Sometimes, I said a word that acted unintentionally as a trigger. Once, in our 20s, I told her about my studies in the university and said the word ‘dichotomy.’ Within seconds I received a long, sharp monologue, overflowing not just with fury but with disgust, for all my existence and behavior through all the past few years. And in the distant past. About how I looked, what I wore, how I spoke, how ugly it was. How much of a nothing I really am,” she wrote.

Both Oz-Salzberger and her father shared this fear of her sister, and this made their relationship worse, she wrote. Now, after relations between her family and her sister were cut off – beginning in 2012 with some of the family, and completely in 2015 – and now even more so after Galia’s book was released, Oz-Salzberger said she wants to set the record straight: Galia’s version contains “shocking untruths” and is “turning an isolated incident into a never-ending past.”

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