Budapest, Hungary — Tel-Aviv, Israel, 1924-2005
Ephraim Kishon was an author, satirist, journalist, playwright, screenwriter, film and theater director and 2002 Israel Prize recipient. He is considered to be one of the greatest Israeli satirists of all time.
Kishon, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel in 1949 and within just a few months learned to speak Hebrew fluently. His first play in Hebrew, "Shmo Holech Lefanav" (His Reputation Precedes Him) was staged by Habima three years after his arrival.
Kishon wrote more than 50 books in Hebrew, which were translated into 37 different languages. Over 45 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide and he is considered to be the most widely sold and translated Israeli author in the world.
Kishon wrote about simple people and their ordinary problems, but also addressed social and political issues. He exposed the tangled web of the bureaucracy and focused on the gaps between different sectors of the population, all from a perspective of love for the country and involvement in the national experience.
Kishon wrote some 20 plays, which achieved global success. Among some of the most renowned were "HaKetubbah" (The Jewish Marriage Certificate), "Hu VeHi" (Him and Her), "Ho, Ho Yulia" (Oh, oh Juliet) and more. His plays have been translated into many languages and continue to be performed today on stages around the world.
Kishon was also among the leading figures in Israeli cinema. His films, including "Sallah Shabati", "HaShoter Azoulay" (The Policeman), "Ta'alat Blaumlich" (The Big Dig) and more, were nominated for Oscars and won three Golden Globe awards as well as many other international awards.
Kishon elevated humor to an art form. His diverse and astute works reflect the diversity of Israeli society and successfully get across Israeli viewpoints to a wide audience of readers throughout the world.
New generations continue to be brought up on Kishon's works, which remain just as relevant and sharp today as when they were written. These works are an Israeli cultural asset and millions of readers around the world continue to both laugh and cry as they enjoy them.