Israeli author Kishon dead at 80
Sun Jan 30, 2005 01:33 AM GMT
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Ephraim Kishon, a Holocaust survivor who became one of Israel's best known and most widely translated authors, has died at his home in Switzerland, Israeli media reports say. He was 80.
"Israel has lost its greatest humorist and I have lost my best friend," Yosef Lapid, opposition leader in Israel's parliament, told the Maariv newspaper on Sunday.
The newspaper quoted Kishon's son, Raphael, as saying his father died of a heart attack late on Saturday in Switzerland, where he has been living for many years. He is to be buried in Israel.
Born in Hungary, Kishon survived Nazi labour camps and immigrated in 1949 to Israel, where he began by writing political and social satire in Israeli newspapers and later books that poked fun at life in the new Jewish state.
He began to write and direct Israeli films in the 1960s. "Salah Shabati", a satirical look at the life of new immigrants from North Africa who battle bureaucracy and prejudice in Israel, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1964.
Kishon's books have been translated into 37 languages and he won an especially loyal following in German-speaking countries.
Some of his most popular books included "Look Back, Mrs Lot" (1960) and "So Sorry We Won!" (1968), an unapologetic look at Israel's existence in a hostile Middle East. "It is a country where nobody expects miracles, but everybody takes them for granted," Kishon once wrote about Israel.