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Amos Oz, Israeli Literary Giant, Dies At 79

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

The Israeli author Amos Oz died yesterday. He was 79 years old. Oz will be remembered for his many works of fiction, but also as a tireless advocate for peace with the Palestinians and the two-state solution. We talked to him on NPR many times, sometimes about his books, sometimes about politics and sometimes about modern Israeli life.

My colleague Robert Siegel spoke to him last in 2016. He was optimistic about the road ahead for Israel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

AMOS OZ: I feel much more comfortable talking about the past than about the future. I'm old enough to know that life is full of surprises. I have seen people surprising not only others, but even themselves. I have seen leaders, political leaders, intellectuals, writers, poets, artists - I have seen them see - doing things which surprised themselves.

People are open-ended. By the way, that's how I make a living. The microphone, which I'm using now, will not change. It will remain the same microphone until it is outdated. But you and I do change. We both did things which surprised ourselves from time to time. So we don't really know. We don't really know what people might do.

ELLIOTT: That was writer Amos Oz. He died yesterday at the age of 79.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.