S. Yizhar

S. Yizhar

Yizhar Smilansky (1916-2006) was not only one of the most prominent Israeli writers, he was also an Israeli iconic figures: a Sabra, a commander in the “Haganah,” an officer in the War of Independence, a Knesset member, a teacher and a lecturer, and an award-winning author whose writings and opinions had provoked both those on the right wing as well as on the left. The son of Zeev Smilansky, a Zionist who had arrived in Israel in the Second Aliyah, Yizhar was born in Rehovot. He graduated from high school in his hometown and studied at the Teachers Seminary in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood. He taught in Yavniel, in the Ben Shemen Youth Village, and in a high school in Rehovot. He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in the U.S. He was elected to the first Knesset in 1949 on behalf of the Mapai party, serving as a party member until the sixth Knesset, when he switched to Ben-Gurion’s new party, Rafi, and finally resigned from the Knesset in 1967. S. Yizhar was a senior lecturer of education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a full professor at the University of Tel Aviv. His pen name, S. Yizhar, was given to him by his editor upon the publication of his first story, “Ephraim Goes Back to Alfalfa” (1938). His monumental novel, Days of Ziklag, awarded him the Israel Prize for Literature in 1959. In addition, he was the recipient of the Brenner Prize for Literature, and the EMET Prize in the category of culture and arts.

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