Top 46 Amos Oz Quotes

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“And in this respect, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a tragedy, a clash between one very powerful, very convincing, very painful claim over this land and another no less powerful, no less convincing claim.”

― Amos Oz

“The idea that all Israelis are villains is a childish idea. Israel is the most deeply divided, argumentative society. You’ll never find two Israelis that agree with one another – it’s hard to find even one who agrees with himself or herself.”

― Amos Oz

“I think loathing begets fanaticism, and in the end, loathing begets hatred and violence.”

― Amos Oz

“I’ve been called a traitor a few times in my life by some of my countrymen.”

― Amos Oz

“But for 30 years, Orthodox leaders have tipped the balance between hawks and doves, and have been in a position to determine who forms a coalition and who runs the country.”

― Amos Oz

“If we don’t stop somewhere, if we don’t accept an unhappy compromise, unhappy for both sides, if we don’t learn how to unhappily coexist and contain our burned sense of injustice – if we don’t learn how to do that, we end up in a doomed state.”

― Amos Oz

“Two children of same cruel parent look at one another and see in each other the image of the cruel parent or the image of their past oppressor. This is very much the case between Jew and Arab: It’s a conflict between two victims.”

― Amos Oz

“Nobody ever predicted, a week before President Sadat came to Jerusalem in 1977, that his arrival would be the beginning of a peace process that would end up in an – unhappy – Israeli-Egyptian peace. We have seen peace with Egypt. We have seen peace with Jordan. We have seen the handshake between Rabin and Arafat – things are possible.”

― Amos Oz

“I wrote a novel about Israelis who live their own lives on the slope of a volcano. Near a volcano one still falls in love, one still gets jealous, one still wants a promotion, one still gossips.”

― Amos Oz

“It is crystal clear to me that if Arabs put down a draft resolution blaming Israel for the recent earthquake in Iran it would probably have a majority, the U.S. would veto it and Britain and France would abstain.”

― Amos Oz

“I love Israel, but I don’t like it very much.”

― Amos Oz

“Very often, fanaticism begins at home. It begins inside the family. It begins with the urge to change our kin, to change our beloved ones for their own good because we think we know better than them what is good and what is bad for them, what is right and what is wrong in their thinking.”

― Amos Oz

“I have almost never written about my experience as a soldier on the battlefield, because I tried, and I found that it is beyond my capacity to describe the battlefield. The battlefield consists mostly of smells, and it is very difficult to describe smells in words – very difficult indeed.”

― Amos Oz

“Trump is many things. He is pampered. He is an immature man. He is a teenager craving unconditional, endless love from everybody.”

― Amos Oz

“I listen to my political rivals sometimes with fear and trembling, sometimes with awe, sometimes with near panic, but always with a curiosity of nuances, curiosity for the language, curiosity for the story behind the ‘impossible’ position.”

― Amos Oz

“A conflict begins and ends in the hearts and minds of people, not in the hilltops.”

― Amos Oz

“All of my novels are democracies.”

― Amos Oz

“But The Same Sea is set precisely in this Israel, which never makes it to the news headlines anywhere. It is a novel about everyday people far removed from fundamentalism, fanaticism nationalism, or militancy of any sort.”

― Amos Oz

“Every single pleasure I can imagine or have experienced is more delightful, more of a pleasure, if you take it in small sips, if you take your time. Reading is not an exception.”

― Amos Oz

“I find the family the most mysterious and fascinating institution in the world.”

― Amos Oz

“I have seen for the first time in 100 years of conflict, the two peoples – the Israeli people and the Palestinian people – are ahead of their leaderships.”

― Amos Oz

“I recommend the art of slow reading.”

― Amos Oz

“I was born and bred in a tiny, low-ceilinged ground-floor apartment.”

― Amos Oz

“I wrote The Same Sea not as a political allegory about Israelis and Palestinians. I wrote it about something much more gutsy and immediate. I wrote it as a piece of chamber music.”

― Amos Oz

“In many ways, I regard Sharon and Arafat as birds of a feather.”

― Amos Oz

“Israel of the coastal plain, where eight out of ten Israeli Jews live far removed from the occupied territories, from the fiery Jerusalem, from the religious and nationalistic conflicts, is unknown to the outside world, almost unknown to itself.”

― Amos Oz

“On my parents’ scale of values, the more Western something was, the more cultured it was considered.”

― Amos Oz

“One of the things I wanted to introduce in The Same Sea beyond transcending the conflict, is the fact that deep down below all our secrets are the same.”

― Amos Oz

“The actual gap between Labor, Likud and the new central party is microscopic.”

― Amos Oz

“Well, my definition of a tragedy is a clash between right and right.”

― Amos Oz

“I was born in a tiny little enclave of terrified Jewish refugees, less than half a million of them, with no clear perspective of a future – hopes, yes, but no clear perspective.”

― Amos Oz

“Throughout my childhood, a heavy cloud of pain and disappointment and insecurity hovered over my home, my little street, my neighborhood, Jewish Jerusalem, Jewish Israel.”

― Amos Oz

“I have mixed feelings about Jerusalem. It is fascinating, it is beautiful, it is tragic, and it is extremely attractive to all kinds of fanatics or redeemers, world reformers, self-appointed prophets or messiahs. I find this fascinating, but I don’t think I would like to live in the middle of this. I need my distance.”

― Amos Oz

“Every country in the world should follow the example of President Trump and move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But simultaneously, there should be an embassy of all countries in the world in East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine.”

― Amos Oz

“The opposite of compromise is fanaticism and death.”

― Amos Oz

“Writing in modern Hebrew is a bit like playing chamber music inside a huge, empty cathedral. If you are not very careful with the echoes, you may evoke some monstrosities.”

― Amos Oz

“There is a difference between myself and some of the peace people in Europe: whereas they think that the ultimate evil in the world is war, I think the ultimate evil in the world is aggression, and aggression sometimes must be repelled by force.”

― Amos Oz

“I am not a pacifist in terms of turning the other cheek.”

― Amos Oz

“I realised at the age of 16 that unless I read the gospels, I would never have access to Renaissance art, to the music of Bach or the novels of Dostoevsky. So in the evenings, when the other boys went to play basketball or chase girls – I had no chance in either – I found my comfort in Jesus.”

― Amos Oz

“Jesus was born a Jew, and he died a Jew. It never occurred to him to establish a new religion. He never crossed himself: he had no reason to. He never set one foot in a church. He went to synagogue.”

― Amos Oz

“Israel should aspire to be a decent country. That’s good enough for me.”

― Amos Oz

“My parents – they tried to become American, they tried to become British, they tried to become Scandinavian – nobody wanted them, anywhere.”

― Amos Oz

“When you’re on the battlefield, you switch off your soul; otherwise, you would die of terror – you would die of fear. You switch off your soul, and you act like an animal or a machine.”

― Amos Oz

“’Oz’ means strength – and it also means courage.”

― Amos Oz

“Literature is always about bygone times. It’s always looking back in time with a certain perspective. I look at bygone life which no longer exists, and as I said, I look at it without nostalgia but without anger, either. I look at it with criticism and with compassion. I look at it with curiosity.”

― Amos Oz

“Happiness as a human condition is something I never believed in. I think there are moments of happiness. I don’t think there is a lasting happiness. I think this is unthinkable.”

― Amos Oz
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