2021 Annual Assessment

In 2020 two of Israel’s greatest authors died – novelist Yehoshua Kenaz (1937-2020) and, shortly afterward, poet Nathan Zach (1930-2020). As with the recent deaths of such notable figures as Amos Oz, Amalia Kahana-Carmon, Haim Gouri, and Aharon Appelfeld, the passing of Kenaz and Zach marked the end of a literary generation and a literary era. The personal histories and oeuvres of these writers are intertwined with the history of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. Born Harry Seitelbach in Berlin, Zach fled to Mandatory Palestine from Germany with his parents in1936, after the Nazis came to power. Kenaz was born in Petah Tikva when it was still an agricultural settlement. He was associated with Canaanism, an ideology which held that Israelis should abandon Jewishness and the exilic mentality and merge with their Semitic surroundings.

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