Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman commemorated famed author Amos Oz, who passed away on Friday, praising his "vision of peace."
In an Instagram post, Portman wrote: "My heart is broken. Today we lost a soul, a mind, a heart, Amos Oz, who brought so much beauty, so much love, and a vision of peace to our lives. Please hold him in your hearts and read his gorgeous books. My most loving embrace to his family, who he loved extremely."
The two worked closely together to bring Oz's 2002 memoir "A Tale of Love and Darkness" to the big screen. The film was screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Portman, who also served as first-time director, played the role of Oz's mother. At the time of the film's release, Portman wrote that Oz "and his whole family were incredibly generous with me. He always encouraged me to make my own piece, because the book already exists, and he didn’t want me to simply film the book."
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Oz, an Israel Prize laureate, wrote dozens of Hebrew languages books including novels, novellas, short-story collections and essays, as well as around 500 pieces of Israeli and foreign periodicals.
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"A Tale of Love and Darkness," an autobiographical novel of Oz's childhood in pre-state Israel that won the Goethe Prize, is one of Oz's most famous works.
“I was drawn to the material because Amos’ writing is so poetic and evocative, because the relationship between Amos and his mother is incredibly moving, and because the period of history has featured heavily in my imagination because of its similarity to the stories I heard growing up from my family,” Portman told Haaretz.
News of Oz's death, who died of cancer at the age of 79, has sparked international praise and remembrance of one of Israel's most famous authors. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Oz as one of the greatest writers in Israeli history.
Former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks described Oz as a secular prophet with "burning moral passion" while American Jewish leaders and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt lauded Oz as “a staunch and thoughtful Israeli and Zionist, and passionate advocate for peace.”