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Sunday, January 30, 2005 12:04 PM


From: "Israel Government Press Office"

These were Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's remarks from the start of today's Cabinet meeting:

"Last night, one of the cultural giants of our generation, Israel Prize laureate Ephraim Kishon, passed away. The story of Kishon's life is the story of the Jewish People in our time. A refugee youth, a brand plucked from the fire, reached a new country, the shores of which he was unfamiliar with, and was surprised by its custom of writing from right-to-left. These difficulties could not prevent his talents from bursting forth - his virtuoso writing ability, his novel uses of the Hebrew language he had come to know, his creation of a great cultural reservoir. He created an entire world of culture for the country.

With a sharp wit, both favorably and critically, Kishon set before us an exact mirror from which the ups and downs, fears, arts and opinions of Israeli culture could be seen.

I met Kishon many times in recent years. During these meetings, we discussed various issues, such as politics, current events, immigrant absorption, self-deprecating humor and also the painful fact that for many years Kishon felt rejected by the Israeli cultural establishment. Always, in all of our conversations, the issue which formed Kishon's life came up - the Holocaust. We always thought of how much talent was lost to the Jewish People in the Shoah.

Ephraim Kishon died yesterday but his monumental cultural works remain with us and with future generations; thus we will remember him."

Pictures of two of Kishon's masterpieces:
Shaike Ophir stars as Azulay the Policeman Zeev Revach as Salach Shabati
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