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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 January, 2005, 10:28 GMT
Israeli writer Kishon dies at 80
File photograph of Ephraim Kishon
The author is expected to buried in Tel Aviv later on Sunday
One of Israel's best-known authors, Ephraim Kishon, has died aged 80.

The Hungarian-born writer is believed to have suffered a heart attack in Switzerland, where he had lived for many years.

Mr Kishon survived the Holocaust and emigrated to Israel in 1949, where he established a reputation for satirising life in the new Jewish state.

His books were translated into 37 languages and he was particularly popular in German-speaking countries.

'Incredible ability'

In the 1960s, Mr Kishon turned to writing and directing films.

One of them - Salah Shabati - dealt with the prejudice faced by North African Jews in Israel.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking at a cabinet meeting on Sunday, spoke of Mr Kishon's transformation from Holocaust refugee to cultural icon.

"These hardships could not prevent the blossoming of talent and an incredible writing ability," Mr Sharon said, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Israeli President Moshe Katsav said Mr Kishon was one of Israel's most prominent artists.

"I don't think anyone could compete with him in expressing the process of absorption [into Israeli society]," Mr Katsav said.


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