Last updated: 9 June, 2013

Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk dead at 83

Prominent Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk, who had been suffering from cancer for many years, died at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital after a long struggle with the disease, a hospital spokesman said on Sunday. He was 83.

The spokesman said Kaniuk had agreed to donate his body to science, meaning there would be no funeral.

Kaniuk, who died on Saturday, was famous for his rich literary corpus as well as his outspoken views on social issues such as the separation between church and state, and society’s attitude to the old.

Born in Tel Aviv on May 2, 1930, Kaniuk joined the Palmach, the pre-state fighting force, and took part in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s independence. His experiences were reflected in his 2010 autobiographical novel “1948”.

He then studied painting in Jerusalem before continuing his studies in Paris. During the 1950s, he spent years living in New York where he was closely involved in the jazz scene.

Kaniuk published dozens of novels, which according to Haaretz newspaper were characterised by “his experimentalism and his ability to write from different places each time.”

He also courted controversy after winning a landmark court case in 2011 with a judge granting his request to be officially registered as “without religion” rather than “Jewish.”

President Shimon Peres called Kaniuk’s death “a great loss to Israeli literature, culture and soul.”

“His books will continue to accompany the people long after his death,” he wrote to Kaniuk’s family.