The Most Famous

WRITERS from Israel

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This page contains a list of the greatest Israeli Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 7,302 Writers, 22 of which were born in Israel. This makes Israel the birth place of the 47th most number of Writers behind Syria, and Iceland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Israeli Writers of all time. This list of famous Israeli Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Israeli Writers.

Photo of John the Evangelist

1. John the Evangelist (10 - 100)

With an HPI of 73.90, John the Evangelist is the most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages on wikipedia.

John the Evangelist is the name traditionally given to the author of the Gospel of John. Christians have traditionally identified him with John the Apostle, John of Patmos, and John the Presbyter, although this has been disputed by most modern scholars.

Photo of Amos Oz

2. Amos Oz (1939 - 2018)

With an HPI of 70.91, Amos Oz is the 2nd most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.

Amos Oz (Hebrew: עמוס עוז; born Amos Klausner (Hebrew: עמוס קלוזנר); 4 May 1939 – 28 December 2018) was an Israeli writer, novelist, journalist, and intellectual. He was also a professor of Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. From 1967 onwards, Oz was a prominent advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He was the author of 40 books, including novels, short story collections, children's books, and essays, and his work has been published in 45 languages, more than that of any other Israeli writer. He was the recipient of many honours and awards, among them the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels, the Legion of Honour of France, the Israel Prize, the Goethe Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature, the Heinrich Heine Prize, and the Franz Kafka Prize. Oz is regarded as one of "Israel's most prolific writers and respected intellectuals", as The New York Times worded it in an obituary.

Photo of Mahmoud Darwish

3. Mahmoud Darwish (1941 - 2008)

With an HPI of 68.98, Mahmoud Darwish is the 3rd most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.

Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: مَحمُود دَرْوِيْش, romanized: Maḥmūd Darwīsh; 13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author who was regarded as Palestine's national poet.In 1988, Darwish wrote the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, which was a declaration for the creation of a State of Palestine. Darwish won numerous awards for his works. Darwish used Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He has been described as incarnating and reflecting "the tradition of the political poet in Islam, the man of action whose action is poetry." He also served as an editor for several literary magazines in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Photo of Edward Said

4. Edward Said (1935 - 2003)

With an HPI of 67.02, Edward Said is the 4th most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.

Edward Wadie Said (1 November 1935 – 24 September 2003) was a Palestinian-American academic, literary critic and political activist. As a professor of literature at Columbia University, he was among the founders of post-colonial studies. As a cultural critic, Said is best known for his book Orientalism (1978), a foundational text which critiques the cultural representations that are the bases of Orientalism—how the Western world perceives the Orient. His model of textual analysis transformed the academic discourse of researchers in literary theory, literary criticism, and Middle Eastern studies.Born in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine, Said was a United States citizen by way of his father, who had served in the United States Army during World War I. After the 1948 Palestine war, he relocated to Egypt and then to the United States, enrolling at Victoria College and Northfield Mount Hermon School, respectively. He graduated with a BA in English from Princeton University in 1957, and later with an MA (1960) and a PhD (1964) in English Literature from Harvard University. His principal influences were Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Michel Foucault, and Theodor W. Adorno. In 1963, Said joined Columbia University as a member of the English and Comparative Literature faculties, where he taught and worked until 2003. He lectured at more than 200 other universities in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.As a public intellectual, Said was a member of the Palestinian National Council supporting a two-state solution that incorporated the Palestinian right of return, before resigning in 1993 due to his criticism of the Oslo Accords. He advocated for the establishment of a Palestinian state to ensure political and humanitarian equality in the Israeli-occupied territories, where Palestinians have witnessed the increased expansion of Israeli settlements. However, in 1999, he argued that sustainable peace was only possible with one Israeli–Palestinian state. He defined his oppositional relation with the Israeli status quo as the remit of the public intellectual who has "to sift, to judge, to criticize, to choose, so that choice and agency return to the individual" man and woman. In 1999, Said and Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim co-founded the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, which is based in Seville, Spain. Said was also an accomplished pianist, and, with Barenboim, co-authored the book Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (2002), a compilation of their conversations and public discussions about music at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Photo of Ghassan Kanafani

5. Ghassan Kanafani (1936 - 1972)

With an HPI of 62.81, Ghassan Kanafani is the 5th most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Ghassan Fayiz Kanafani (Arabic: غسان فايز كنفاني‎; 8 April 1936 – 8 July 1972) was a prominent Palestinian author and politician, considered to be a leading novelist of his generation and one of the Arab world's leading Palestinian writers. Kanafani's works have been translated into more than 17 languages.Kanafani was born in Acre, Mandatory Palestine in 1936. During the 1948 Palestine war, his family was forced out of their hometown. Kanafani later recalled the intense shame he felt when, at age 12, he watched the men of his family surrender their weapons to become refugees. The family settled in Damascus, Syria, where he completed his primary education. He then became a teacher for displaced Palestinian children in a refugee camp, where he began writing short stories in order to help his students contextualize their situation. He begun studying for an Arabic Literature degree at the University of Damascus in 1952, but before he could complete his degree, he was expelled from the university for his political affiliations with the Movement of Arab Nationalists (MAN), to which he had been recruited by George Habash. He later relocated to Kuwait and then Beirut, where he became immersed in Marxism. In 1961, he married Anni Høver, a Danish educationalist and children's rights activist, with whom he had two children. He became an editor and wrote articles for a number of Arab magazines and newspapers. His 1963 novel Men in the Sun received widespread acclaim and, along with A World that is Not Ours, symbolizes his first period of pessimism, which was later reversed in favor of active struggle in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. That year, he joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and became its spokesman. In 1969, he drafted a PFLP program in which the movement officially adopted Marxism-Leninism, which marked a departure from pan-Arab nationalism towards revolutionary Palestinian struggle.In 1972, while he was in Beirut, Kanafani and his 17-year old niece Lamees were killed by a bomb implanted in his car by the Mossad, which Israel claimed was in response for the group's role in the Lod Airport massacre, but Kanafani's assassination may have been planned long before.

Photo of David Grossman

6. David Grossman (b. 1954)

With an HPI of 61.81, David Grossman is the 6th most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

David Grossman (Hebrew: דויד גרוסמן; born January 25, 1954) is an Israeli author. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages. In 2018, he was awarded the Israel Prize for literature.

Photo of A. B. Yehoshua

7. A. B. Yehoshua (1936 - 2022)

With an HPI of 59.01, A. B. Yehoshua is the 7th most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Avraham Gabriel Yehoshua (Hebrew: אברהם גבריאל (בולי) יהושע; December 9, 1936 – June 14, 2022) was an Israeli novelist, essayist, and playwright. The New York Times called him the "Israeli Faulkner". Underlying themes in Yehoshua's work are Jewish identity, the tense relations with non-Jews, the conflict between the older and younger generations, and the clash between religion and politics.

Photo of May Ziade

8. May Ziade (1886 - 1941)

With an HPI of 56.82, May Ziade is the 8th most famous Israeli Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

May Elias Ziadeh ( zee-AH-də; Arabic: مي إلياس زيادة, ALA-LC: Mayy Ilyās Ziyādah; 11 February 1886 – 17 October 1941) was a Lebanese-Palestinian poet, essayist, and translator, who wrote many different works both in Arabic and in French.After attending school in her native city Nazareth and in Lebanon, May Elias Ziadeh immigrated along with her family to Egypt in 1908, and started publishing her works in French (under the pen name Isis Copia) in 1911. Gibran Kahlil Gibran entered into a correspondence with her in 1912. Being a prolific writer, she wrote for Arabic-language newspapers and periodicals, along with publishing poems and books. May Elias Ziadeh held one of the most famous literary salons in the modern Arab world in the year 1921. After suffering some personal losses at the beginning of the 1930s, she came back to Lebanon where her relatives placed her in a psychiatric hospital. However, she was able to get out of it, and then left for Cairo, where she later died.May Elias Ziadeh was one of the key figures of the Nahda in the early 20th-century Middle Eastern literary scene and a "pioneer of Oriental feminism."

Photo of Ahron Daum

9. Ahron Daum (1951 - 2018)

With an HPI of 55.09, Ahron Daum is the 9th most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Ahron Daum (Hebrew: אהרן דאום; January 6, 1951 – June 27, 2018) was an Israeli-born Modern-Orthodox rabbi, educator, author, and former chief rabbi of Frankfurt am Main from 1987 to 1993. From 1995 until his death in 2018, he was a lecturer at the Faculty for Comparative Religion in Antwerp, Belgium.

Photo of Justus of Tiberias

10. Justus of Tiberias (35 - 100)

With an HPI of 54.72, Justus of Tiberias is the 10th most famous Israeli Writer.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Justus of Tiberias (Tiberias, ca. 35 AD - Galilee, ca 100 AD) was a 1st century Jewish author and historiographer. All that we know of his life comes from the Vita which Flavius Josephus apparently wrote in response to the assertions made by Justus in his History of the Jewish War, published around 93/94 or shortly after 100. Josephus is moreover the only writer to mention this document, but without ever citing the slightest extract. This History published by Justus seems to have disappeared shortly after the publication of the Autobiography of Flavius Josephus, because it is unknown to pagan authors and the Christian authors who mention it only quote what Josephus said. After the Great Jewish Revolt (66-70), Justus was the secretary of King Agrippa II and waited until his death to publish his History of this revolt. He is also known as the author of two other writings which disappeared much later. Thus in the ninth century, Bishop Photios of Constantinople was still able to access a copy of the Chronicle of the Jewish Kings' written by Justus.

People

Pantheon has 25 people classified as Israeli writers born between 10 and 1992. Of these 25, 10 (40.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Israeli writers include David Grossman, Gideon Levy, and Etgar Keret. The most famous deceased Israeli writers include John the Evangelist, Amos Oz, and Mahmoud Darwish. As of April 2024, 3 new Israeli writers have been added to Pantheon including Zeruya Shalev, Salma Khadra Jayyusi, and Sayed Kashua.

Living Israeli Writers

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Deceased Israeli Writers

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Newly Added Israeli Writers (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 13 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.