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Amos Elon Dies

Washington Post staff writer Emily Langer writes:

If you're interested in learning more about Amos Elon, the distinguished Israeli writer who died yesterday in Tuscany and whose obituary appears in today's Post, take the time to read this interview with Mr. Elon all the way to the end.

The interview took place in 2004, just as Mr. Elon, then 78, was leaving Jerusalem for Italy, and originally appeared in Haaretz, the Tel Aviv-based newspaper where he first made a name for himself in the 1950s and '60s. Mr. Elon talks about the consequences of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, his disappointment with Israeli politicians, and life in exile (or at least something close to exile).

My favorite part of the interview:

Q. The book you wrote ["The Pity of It All"] is essentially a nostalgic ode to the refined lost paradise of that Jewish Germany. In a certain sense, it is your true homeland.

A. No. I grew up here [in Israel], not there.... My parents arrived from Vienna in 1933. ... That's why I am not an ideological Israeli. I did not grow up here out of choice. But I did grow up here. Here is where I kissed a girl for the first time. And what is a homeland if not the place where you kiss a girl for the first time?

Read the rest of the Haaretz interview here.

By Adam Bernstein |  May 26, 2009; 11:04 AM ET
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