Amos Oz’s daughter: “My father beat, and humiliated me. It was a sadistic abuse”
Galia Oz claims, for the first time, in the book that her father treated her with physical and verbal violence – beat her, humiliated her and mentally abused her.
The writer and director Galia Oz, the daughter of Israel’s most respected author Amos Oz, is today (Sunday) publishing an autobiographical book about her childhood and her relationship with her father.
In her book, “A thing disguised as love” (Kinneret Zmora Dvir), she claims for the first time that her father treated her with physical and verbal violence – beat her, humiliated her, and mentally abused her.
Amos Oz died in December 2018. Oz was an Israeli novelist, intellectual, and professor of Hebrew literature. He was the recipient of many honors and awards, among them the Legion of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels, the Franz Kafka Prize, and the Heinrich Heine Prize.
In its obituary, The New York Times honored him as one of “Israel’s most prolific writers and respected intellectuals.”
Galia Oz, his daughter’s autobiographical book reveals difficult and complex parts of her childhood that she describes as her father’s abuse. Oz claimes after many years of fear, silence, and concealment: “As a child my father beat me, cursed and humiliated me.”
“His violence was creative,” Oz writes in her book, “something that disguises itself as love.”
“He dragged me out of the house and threw me outside on the doorstep. He called me filth. It was not a one-moment passing loss of mind. It was not a slap in the face here and there, but a routine of sadistic abuse. My crime was myself, so the punishment had no end. He had to make sure I am broke.”
“This book is about me,” she writes, “but I’m not alone. Houses like the house where I grew up are somehow floating in space, out of reach of social workers, out of the reach of revolutions like #MeToo, without leaving a mark on social media.
“They wisely encrypt their secrets like criminal organizations. To write about it I have no choice but to overcome the silence and secrecy, the habit of keeping everything in my stomach, and the fear of what they will say. I do not really overcome, of course. But I write.”
There was a long-standing rift between the father and daughter until Oz passed away. After his death, she revealed that her father had spread slander against her.
She writes in her new book: “Older people know, more or less, what makes a libel a criminal offense in the rulebook, but only those who have fallen victim to harassment, boycott, social bullying or a close relationship with a psychopath will be able to understand how deliberate lying has the power to domesticate. A person must be destroyed, literally. Not nearly, not maybe, not roughly, not subject to interpretation.”
Galia Oz’s books have been published in the United States, France, Spain, and Brazil. “I’m Mikey” and five “Shakshuka” books have been adapted into a TV series that is currently airing in Israel. For her work, she awarded the Deborah Omer award.
Oz Family Response:
“We, Nili, Fanya, and Daniel, met another father. A warm, cordial, attentive father, who loved his family with a soul-love full of care, devotion, and sacrifice.
“Most of Galia’s accusations are completely contradict the intense memory that has been imprinted on us throughout our lives.
“Galia cut contact with us about seven years ago. Her claims then towards all of us caught us by surprise.
“Although he did not recognize himself in her accusations, Dad tried and hoped right up until his last day to talk to her and understand her, even about the things that seemed to him and us to be contrary to reality.
“Galia’s pain is probably real and heartbreaking, but we remember differently. Quite different.
Nili, Fanya and Daniel”
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