Yehoshua – writer, activist and playwright – has been described as the “Israeli Faulkner”
Acclaimed Israeli novelist Abraham B. (AB) Yehoshua was pronounced dead on Tuesday at the age of 85, after years of battling cancer.
Yehoshua was considered one of Israel’s most important and influential writers, described by The New York Times under the name “Israeli Faulkner”, in reference to the famous American writer William Faulkner.
The novelist, activist, playwright and essayist was born in 1936 in Jerusalem to a family from Salonika, Greece. He attended Rehavia Gymnasium and served in the Israeli army as a paratrooper, before applying to study literature at Hebrew University.
As soon as his military service ended, Yehoshua began publishing fiction. His first short story book, “Mot Hazaken” (The Death of the Old Man), was published in 1962. He became a prominent figure in the “new wave” generation of Israeli writers, who differed from their predecessors in focusing more closely to the individual.
In 1977, he published his first novel “The Lover”, then published many successful books, including “Mr. Money”, “The Return from India”, “The Mission of the Human Resources Commissioner”, etc.
In 1995, the writer won the Israeli Prize for Literature.
In addition to his artistic activity, Yehoshua was one of the prominent voices of the Israeli left camp. He was a member of the public council of B’Tselem and during some election campaigns he was included in the Meretz party’s list for the Israeli parliament.
Towards the end of the Second Lebanon War, he attended a press conference in which he called on the Israeli government to agree to a ceasefire and not to expand the fighting.
Yehoshua is survived by his daughter and two sons.