The daughter of the late Israeli author Amos Oz alleges that he was violent toward her and that “the harassment and abuse continued until the day he died.” Galia Oz makes the claims in her new autobiography “Something Disguised As Love,” which was published in Hebrew on Sunday.
The book seemingly explains the estranged relationship between Amos Oz – one of the most famous and beloved of Israeli authors – and his middle daughter Galia, herself an award-winning children’s book author.
The book begins: “In my childhood, my father beat me, swore and humiliated me. The violence was creative: He dragged me from inside the house and threw me outside. He called me trash. Not a passing loss of control and not a slap in the face here or there, but a routine of sadistic abuse. My crime was me myself, so the punishment had no end. He had a need to make sure I would break,” she wrote.
Galia Oz is the daughter of Nili and Amos Oz, the latter the author of some of the greatest masterpieces of Hebrew literature, including “Judas,” “Black Box” and “A Tale of Love and Darkness.” He was regularly mentioned as a possible Nobel Prize winner in literature prior to his death from cancer in December 2018.
For years, a large question mark hung over the relationship between father and daughter, which was apparent even at his funeral and the ceremony that followed it.
“This book is about me,” states Galia (also written Gallia) Oz. “But I’m not the only one. Houses such as the house I grew up in somehow float in space, far from the reach of social workers, outside the range of influence of revolutions such as #MeToo, without leaving a sign on social media. Terrified and isolated, they encrypt their secrets wisely like crime families. In order to write about it, I have no choice but to overcome the violence and secrecy, the habit of keeping it all inside me and the fear of what people will say. I’m not really overcoming it, of course. But I am writing.”
Author and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger, Galia Oz’s sister and Amos Oz’ daughter, tweeted a response on Sunday on behalf of the rest of the family, including her mother Nili and brother Daniel: “We, Nili, Fania and Daniel, knew a different father. A warm, friendly, attentive father who loved his family with profound love full of concern, devotion and sacrifice. Most of the accusations Galia throws at him now completely contradict the fierce memory stamped into us throughout our entire lives.
“Galia decided to sever all contact with us seven years ago. The claims she voiced against us then caught us all by surprise. Even though he did not recognize himself in her accusations, father really tried and hoped until his final day to speak with her and understand her, even about the things that seemed to him and to us the opposite of reality. It appears Galia’s pain is real and heartbreaking, but we remember differently. Completely differently,” Oz-Salzberger tweeted.