Israeli author, painter and publicist Yoram Kaniuk died at the age of 83 on Saturday at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv. As per the author's request, a funeral will not be held and his body will be donated to science.
Kaniuk, whose health had deteriorated over the past few years, wrote on his personal blog a few months ago, "I am writing with certain sorrow and the not so pleasant feeling that my time has come. Soon I will be heading south. How it will happen - I do not know.
"I've donated my body to science. Then I want my body to be cremated. I have no desire to leave behind bone dust that will fade away and disappear, and I want my ashes in a bottle, or, if my family so wishes, it can be scattered somewhere and I'll make room for someone else. We are all a chain. One leaves and one comes. In the Bible, the Hebrews did not deal with what happens after death. During the Mishnah period as well (people) were buried for a year, and then their bones were exhumed. Many (of the bones) were placed in a sarcophagus or thrown away. When you die – nothing remains," he wrote.
One of the greatest Israeli writers. Kaniuk (Photo: MCT)
Kaniuk, who was born and raised in Tel Aviv, was one of the most renowned Israeli novelists of his time. His successful novels include Himmo, King of Jerusalem (published in 1965); Adam Resurrected (1968); Rockinghorse (1974); The Last Jew (1982); and 1948, which earned him the Sapir Prize for Literature in 2010.
He spent the 1950s as a journalist and painter in New York, and in 1961 settled down in Tel Aviv.
During his career as a writer, Kaniuk won numerous literary prizes, including the Brenner Prize for literature, the Bialik Prize, and the President's Prize. In 2012 he was named an Officer in France's Order of Arts and Letters.
Kaniuk, who was wounded while fighting in the War of Independence, recently led a public campaign urging the State to permit people to register at the Population Registry as citizens "without religion."