From our Chief Executive: A Tribute to Amos Oz

New Israel Fund Dinner Amos Oz 12950

 (Photo: Amos Oz receiving NIF’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, London)

Amos Oz was a hero to many and with his sad passing, Israel has lost not only one of its greatest authors but one of its most articulate champions for peace and liberal democracy. He embodied the best of Israeli and Jewish values.

Amos Oz had a long and close relationship with NIF. He was on our International Council and he regularly spoke up out in support for NIF and our partner organisations and was a source of great insight and inspiration.

In 2012, we were honoured to welcome him to the UK to receive our Human Rights Awards Dinner Lifetime Achievement Award. His words at our dinner still resonate powerfully with us today:

“The New Israel Fund plays a tremendous role in the evolution of Israeli society, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. They are doing wonderful work educating and enlightening the Israeli population and opening Israeli society to new horizons and new perspectives of liberalism and tolerance.

…In Israel, we are witnessing an internal struggle; it’s not only about politics, boundaries and settlements. It’s about the soul of Israel, the meaning of our country and its spiritual heritage. The New Israel Fund is doing all it can to enhance tolerance, civil rights and the recognition of the rights of minorities.”

In the few days Amos Oz spent with us around the Dinner, I was struck by two things. Firstly the excitement and ‘buzz’ he generated. The second was his graciousness – from the warmth of his response to the Award of our Prize to his commitment to the event and his associated activities during the trip.

NIF has made a short clip to celebrate his involvement with us:

Amos Oz will be greatly missed. Our commitment now must to be continue to work towards the values that he spent a lifetime defending, as a way to ensure that the change he so passionately believed in and worked for materialises.