Israeli literature

Israeli literature

:" See also, Hebrew literature.Israeli literature, generally referred to as Hebrew literature, is poetry and prose written in modern Hebrew, as part of the renaissance of the Hebrew language in modern times.


The first modern Hebrew poetry and prose was the work of 19th century Jewish writers from countries in Europe whose mother tongue was not Hebrew. Sholem Aleichem wrote in Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish; I.L. Peretz and Mendele Mocher Sforim wrote in Hebrew and Yiddish; Chaim Nachman Bialik grew up in Russia, but wrote in Hebrew. Some of these authors first published their work in Hebrew language newspapers published in Europe. Many of the pioneers of Hebrew literature were Zionists, and eventually made their way to the Land of Israel. Some wrote in Hebrew before their arrival, while others adopted Hebrew as the vehicle for their literary endeavors only after settling in Israel. []

Among the earliest modern Hebrew writers was a small minority of writers who were born in the Land of Israel. This cadre includes Yitzhak Shami and Yehuda Burla , Sepharadi Jews whose families migrated to the Land of Israel in the 19th and 18th centuries, respectively. The writing of this group stands out for its authentic depiction of the Arab and Jewish population of pre-state Israel, told from the vantage point of those who grew up in its midst.

The 1940s and 1950s

During the 1940s and 1950s: "the War of Independence Generation" . Native-born writers were conflicted "between individualism and commitment to society and state"; characterized by "social realism". Israeli authors have a large influence on the outside world.

* S. Yizhar
* Moshe Shamir
* Hanoch Bartov
* Haim Gouri
* Benjamin Tammuz
* Aharon Megged
* Igal Mossinsohn

The 1960s

During the early 1960s: "Very influential" writers followed less "ideological patterns", and wrote more about the individual; "psychological realism, allegory and symbolism"; "speculation and skepticism regarding... conventions".

* A. B. Yehoshua
* Amos Oz
* Natan Yonatan
* Yoram Kaniuk
* Yaakov Shabtai
* Yeshayahu Koren

The 1980s and 1990s

During the 1980s and 1990s: "Intense literary activity", aimed at "enabling readers to understand themselves", characterized "three generations" of authors, including Oz, Yehoshua, Kaniuk, as well as:

* Aharon Appelfeld
* David Shahar
* David Grossman
* Meir Shalev

Holocaust fiction

The Holocaust was put in fresh perspective by Appelfeld and Grossman, as well as (among others):
* Yehoshua Kenaz
* Yonat and Alexander Sened
* Nava Semel
* Esty G. Hayim

New themes

New themes arose:
* Anton Shammas , "an Arab-Christian writer": "the Arab village"; however, popular Israeli Arab writers such as Emil Habibi (a recipient of the Israel Prize) continue to prefer writing in Arabic.
* Yossl Birstein : the Haredi world
* Haim Be'er: "Jerusalem's Hassidic courts"
* Dov Elbaum, Michal Govrin: additional writers in the "religious dimension" (Furstenberg)
* Yitzhak Orpaz-Auerbach: the "unbeliever" when "fundamentalism is gaining"
* Sami Michael, Albert Suissa , Dan Benaya Seri : "the place of... new immigrants from Arab countries"
* Shimon Ballas , Eli Amir , Amnon Shamosh, Yitzhak Gormezano-Goren: additional writers about the Sephardi experience
* Yitzhak Ben-Ner , as well as Kaniuk, Grossman, Oz: "universal themes such as democracy and righteousness" during "constant challenges"

Women authors

Women authors became more prominent on "general topics", as well as women's role within "Jewish tradition and... in the Zionist enterprise":
* Amalia Kahana-Carmon
* Hannah Bat-Shahar - erotica
* Shulamith Hareven
* Shulamit Lapid
* Ruth Almog
* Savyon Liebrecht
* Batya Gur
* Eleonora Lev
* Yehudit Hendel
* Leah Aini
* Nurit Zarchi

Detective fiction

Some of the above women (Lapid and Gur) began writing detective fiction, as well as the following men and women:
* Michael Barak, pen name of Michael Bar-Zohar, writing Hebrew detective fiction at least as early as 1972
* Amnon Dankner
* Ram Oren
* Amnon Jacont

The younger generation

A "younger generation" of authors that is "more universalistic", "alienated, surreal and idiosyncratic":
* Judith Katzir
* Etgar Keret: mostly short stories
* Orly Castel-Bloom : mostly short stories
* Gadi Taub
* Irit Linur: popular fiction, humorous romance and suspense
* Mira Magen : experiences of Haredi women
* Shimon Zimmer
* Lily Perry
* Yitzhak LaorSome postmodernist writers:
* Itamar Levy
* Yoel Hoffmann

Late 1990s

A new front of young authors active in the late 1990s and new millennium (see also [] )
* Dorit Rabinyan
* Yael Hadaya
* Alon Hilu
* Dudu Bossi
* Eshkol Nevo
* Moshe Ophir
* Efrat Danon
* Alex Epstein (postmodern)
* Maya Arad (novel in rhyme)
* Shimon Adaf (poetry and a detective novel)
* Yuval Shimoni
* Avner Shavit
* Benny Ziffer

Hebrew children's books

Writing for children:
* Miriam Yalan-Shteklis
* Uri Orlev
* Yehuda Atlas : set a trend of writing short poems from a child's perspective
* Ephraim Sidon: satirical writer, often writing for adults under the guise of children's books
* Nira Harel
* Tamar Bergman
* Gila Almagor: mostly autobiographical novels
* Daniella Carmi
* Dvora Omer : writer for children and youth, awarded Israel Prize (2006)
* Dorit Orgad: writer for pre-teens and young adults
* Michal Snunit: short illustrated books, allegories on spirituality and emotion, popular as gift books for adults
* Alona Frankel : "Once Upon a Potty"
* Galila Ron-Feder Amit : writer for pre-teens and young adults
* Smadar Shir: writer for pre-teens and young adults
* Yehonatan Geffen

Publication of books in Israel

By law, the Jewish National and University Library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem receives two copies of each book published in Israel. In 2004 it reported that it received 6,436 new books. Most of them were published in Hebrew, and most of those books published in Hebrew were original to the Hebrew language. Almost 8% of the 2004 crop were children's books and another 4% were textbooks. According to the type of publisher, the books were 55% commercial, 14% self-published, 10% governmental, 7% educational, and 14% published by other types of organizations. []


*Overview of Hebrew literature []
*Furstenberg, Rochelle. "The State of the Arts: Israeli Literature." Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1998. [] ,
*Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "CULTURE- Literature", 2003. []
*Ricci, Cristián and Ignacio López-Calvo. "Caminos para la paz: literatura israelí y árabe en castellano". Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2008.
*Weill, Asher. "Culture in Israel- On the Cusp of the Millennium." Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2000. [] .

See also

*List of Hebrew language authors
*List of Hebrew language poets
*List of Hebrew language playwrights
*Hebrew literature
*Jewish American literature

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