S. Yizhar

Yizhar Smilansky (Hebrew: יִזְהָר סְמִילַנְסְקִי, 27 September 1916 – 21 August 2006), known by his pen name S. Yizhar (ס. יִזְהָר), was an Israeli writer and politician.

S. Yizhar
S Yizhar
Date of birth27 September 1916
Place of birthRehovot, Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, Ottoman Empire
Date of death21 August 2006 (aged 89)
Knessets1, 2, 3, 4. 5, 6
Faction represented in Knesset


Yizhar Smilansky was born in Rehovot to a family of writers. His great uncle was Israeli writer Moshe Smilansky.[1] His father, Zev Zass Smilensky, was also a writer. After earning a degree in education, Yizhar taught in Yavniel, Ben Shemen, Hulda, and Rehovot.

Yizhar married Noemi Wollman in 1942. They had three children, Yisrael (born 1942), Hila (born 1944), and Ze'ev (born 1954).

Literary career

From the end of the 1930s to the 1950s, Yizhar published short novellas, among them Ephraim Goes Back to Alfalfa, On the Edge of the Negev, The Wood on the Hill, A Night Without Shootings, Journey to the Evening's Shores, Midnight Convoy, as well as several collections of short stories. His pen name was given to him by the poet and editor Yitzhak Lamdan, when in 1938 he published Yizhar's first story Ephraim Goes Back to Alfalfa in his literary journal Galleons. From then on, Yizhar signed his works with his pen name.

In 1949, he published the novella Khirbet Khizeh, in which he described the fictional expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their fictional village by the IDF during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It became a best-seller and in 1964 was included in the Israeli high school curriculum.[2] In 1978, a controversy arose after a dramatization of Khirbet Khizeh by director Ram Loevy was aired on Israeli television.[3] Shapira has lamented that, despite the publishing of Yizhar's novella decades earlier, Benny Morris was able, when he published The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947–1949 in 1988, to announce "himself as the man who had laid bare the original sin of the State of Israel".[4]

In the late 1950s, his massive work Days of Ziklag appeared, comprising two volumes and more than a thousand pages. This work had a powerful impact on changing the outlook for Hebrew prose on the one hand, and "war literature" on the other. Although Yizhar remained in the public eye as an outstanding polemicist, he broke his decades-long literary silence only in 1992 with the publication of his novel, Mikdamot (Preliminaries). This was quickly followed by five additional new volumes of prose, both novels and collections of short stories, including Tsalhavim, Etsel Ha-Yam (At Sea), Tsedadiyim (Asides), and Malkomyah Yefehfiyah (Beautiful Malcolmia). His last work, Gilui Eliahu (Discovering Elijah), set in the period of the Yom Kippur War, was published in 1999 and later adapted for the stage. The play won first prize at the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre in 2001. Yizhar also wrote stories for children in which he contended with the defining themes of his youth, as in Oran and Ange concerning the Israeli cultivation of citrus fruits; Uncle Moshe's Chariot, a memoir of the character of his famous great uncle Moshe Smilansky; and others.

Academic career

Yizhar was a professor of education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1986-7 he was Visiting Writer at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. He was a lecturer at Levinsky College in Tel Aviv into the late 1990s.[5]

Political career

Yizhar was elected to the first Knesset in 1949, remaining a Knesset member until the 1955 elections. He returned to the Knesset in October 1956 as a replacement for Aharon Becker. In 1965 he defected to David Ben-Gurion's new Rafi party, but resigned from the Knesset on 20 February 1967. He subsequently joined Ben-Gurion's new National List and was given the symbolic 120th place on its list for the 1969 elections.[6]

Literary style

Yizhar's early work was influenced by Uri Nissan Gnessin. His knowledge of Israeli geology, geomorphology, climate, and flora is evident in his landscape descriptions and his emphasis on the relationship between person and place. Yizhar's use of language is unique. With his long sentences and combination of literary Hebrew and street jargon, he draws the reader into his heroes' stream of consciousness.


  • In 1959, Yizhar was awarded the Israel Prize, for literature.[7]
  • In 1959, he was awarded the Brenner Prize for literature.
  • In 1960, he was awarded the Lamdan Prize for children's literature.
  • In 1991, he was awarded the Bialik Prize for literature.[8]
  • In 2002, he received the EMET Prize.
  • He is also the recipient of the Ben-Gurion Prize.

See also


  1. ^ Moshe Smilansky Archived 2005-12-22 at the Wayback Machine The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature
  2. ^ The price of return Haaretz, 10 December 2008
  3. ^ Cultural Crossoads of the Levant
  4. ^ Shapira, A Hirbet Hizah: Between Remembrance and Forgetting Jewish Social Studies Vol. 7, No. 1
  5. ^ Yuval Jobani and Gideon Katz, In the Convoy and Alongside It: A Study of S. Yizhar’s Works on Education and Literature. Contemporary Jewry, 36(2), 2016, pp.203-224.
  6. ^ National List 1969 list Israel Democracy Institute
  7. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1959 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "List of Bialik Prize recipients 1933–2004 (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv Municipality website" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-12-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External links

1916 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1916.

1958 in literature

This article is a summary of the literary events and publications of 1958.


2006 (MMVI)

was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2006th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 6th year of the 3rd millennium, the 6th year of the 21st century, and the 7th year of the 2000s decade.

2006 was designated as:

International Year of Deserts and Desertification

International Asperger's Year

2006 in Israel

Events in the year 2006 in Israel.

2006 in literature


This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 2006.

Bialik Prize

The Bialik Prize is an annual literary award given by the municipality of Tel Aviv, Israel, for significant accomplishments in Hebrew literature. The prize is named in memory of Hayyim Nahman Bialik. There are two separate prizes, one specifically for "Literature", which is in the field of fiction, and the other for "Jewish thought" (חכמת ישראל). The prize was established in January 1933, Bialik's 60th birthday.

Days of Ziklag

Days of Ziklag (Hebrew: ימי צקלג, Yemei Tziklag) is a novel by S. Yizhar, first published in 1958. It is widely considered to be one of the most prominent works in Israeli literature.

The novel describes 48 days during the 1947–1949 Palestine war in which it follows a squad of IDF soldiers trying to hold a godforsaken post in the Negev desert. The story's stream of consciousness focuses on the inner worlds of the soldiers, both during and between battles. The story is based on the real-life battle for Horbat Ma'achaz fought by the Yiftach Brigade in October 1948, although the battle is never mentioned by name.

Yizhar received the Israel Prize in 1959 for his novel.

Deaths in August 2006

The following is a list of notable deaths in August 2006.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Hebrew: הַאוּנִיבֶרְסִיטָה הַעִבְרִית בְּיְרוּשָׁלַיִם, Ha-Universita ha-Ivrit bi-Yerushalayim; Arabic: الجامعة العبرية في القدس‎, Al-Jāmiʿa al-ʿIbriyya fī l-Quds; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, established in 1918, 30 years before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J. Safra Givat Ram campus.

The university has 5 affiliated teaching hospitals including the Hadassah Medical Center, 7 faculties, more than 100 research centers, and 315 academic departments. As of 2018, a third of all the doctoral candidates in Israel were studying at the Hebrew University.

The first Board of Governors included Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, and Chaim Weizmann. Four of Israel's prime ministers are alumni of the Hebrew University. As of 2018, 15 Nobel Prize winners, 2 Fields Medalists, and 3 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with the University.

Israeli literature

Israeli literature is literature written in the State of Israel by Israelis. Most works classed as Israeli literature are written in the Hebrew language, although some Israeli authors write in Yiddish, English, Arabic and Russian.

Khirbet Khizeh

Khirbet Khizeh (or Hirbet Hizeh or Hirbet Hizah, Hebrew: חִרְבֶּת חִזְעָה) is a historical fiction novel by Israeli writer S. Yizhar which was published in 1949, and deals with the expulsion of the fictional village of Khirbet Hiz'ah, practically representing a depiction of all Arab villages whose inhabitants were expelled during the Israeli war of independence in 1948, events which are known to Palestinians as the Nakba.

From 1964 onwards, the book was part of the Israeli high school curriculum.The book was also a best-seller in Israel.The story was later made into a 1978 TV drama on Israeli Channel 1 produced by Ram Loevy, and sparked a public debate in Israel on whether it should be broadcast or not.

Nabi Rubin

Al-Nabi Rubin (Arabic: النبي روبين‎, transliteation: an-Nabî Rûbîn) was a Palestinian village in central Palestine region, what is now Israel, located 14.5 kilometers (9.0 mi) west of Ramla, just northeast of Yibna and 18 kilometers (11 mi) south of Jaffa. The village was situated on the southern banks of Wadi al-Sarar, known in Hebrew as Sorek Stream, at an elevation of 25 meters (82 ft) above sea level. Nabi Rubin is named after a shrine in the village, believed by Muslims to be the tomb of Reuben. It was captured by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the inhabitants were expelled.

Nicholas de Lange

Nicholas Robert Michael de Lange (7 August 1944, Nottingham) is Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Nitza Ben-Dov

Nitza Ben-Dov (Hebrew: ניצה בן-דב‎, née Fruchtman, born 10 March 1950) is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa.


Rehovot (Hebrew: רְחוֹבוֹת) is a city in the Central District of Israel, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Tel Aviv. In 2018 it had a population of 141,579.

September 27

September 27 is the 270th day of the year (271st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 95 days remain until the end of the year.

The EMET Prize for Art, Science and Culture

The Emet Prize for Art, Science and Culture is an Israeli prize awarded annually for excellence in academic and professional achievements that have far-reaching influence and make a significant contribution to society.

Prizes are awarded in the following five categories: the Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Culture and the Arts.

The prizes, in a total amount of one million dollars, are sponsored by the A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in Israel, under the auspices of and in cooperation with the Prime Minister of Israel. It is awarded to Israeli citizens, and in certain circumstances to non-citizens who reside in Israel and consider Israel as their permanent home.

The EMET Prize is administered by the Award Committee, composed of representatives appointed by the Prime Minister and the A.M.N. Foundation. Currently, the Chairman of the Award Committee is retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel.


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