Amos Oz: The Conscience of Israel

Alan Yentob, Amos Oz

27/02/2008 10:30 am
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Alan Yentob profiles the writer Amos Oz, in the wake of the publication of his childhood memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness taking Oz back to the settings of his childhood in Israel. Oz, a passionate advocate of the two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, grew up during the formation of Israel and his lyrical memoir describes family trauma against the backdrop of the country’s difficult early years, and the story of its founders.

Amos Oz speaks movingly of his parents’ difficulties in adjusting to Israel after a lifetime in Europe, his mother’s depression and suicide, and his own bereaved rage that lasted well into adulthood. He also talks about the Israel-Palestine conflict . “A place cannot be holy,” he said, commenting on the land-grabs of recent times. “Human life alone can be sacred.”

Alan Yentob

Alan Yentob is the Creative Director of the BBC and Editor and Presenter of the Imagine programme. His films include Cracked Actor: David Bowie. He created the arts series Arena and introduced many innovative programmes including Have I Got News For You? and Absolutely Fabulous as controller of BBC Two and BBC One. He is also Chair of the Trustees of the children’s charity Kids Company.

Amos Oz

Internationally acclaimed writer, Amos Oz, was born in Jerusalem in 1939 and, at the age of 15, went to live and work on a Kibbutz. He now lives in Arad, and teaches at Ben Gurion University. Oz has published numerous works of fiction and collections of essays. He is a prolific writer of articles that address the Israeli-Arab conflict and leading exponent of the Peace Now movement. A full member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, he is the recipient of many honours and awards. Oz’s work has been translated into at least 30 languages. Most recently, A Tale of Love and Darkness, was nominated one of the ten most important books since the creation of the State of Israel.