AB Yehoshua: great author with deep Middle Eastern roots

One of Israel’s greatest authors, AB Yehoshua, passed away today at the age of 85. The author of 12 books, he spoke fluent Arabic and was from an old Jerusalemite family on his father’s side. His mother was Sultana Rosilio and her family was from Essaouira, Morocco. Obituary in The Times of Israel:

Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua in 2013. (Martine Halban)

Abraham Gabriel Yehoshua, known to many Israelis as “Buli,” was born in British-controlled Jerusalem in 1936, the younger of two children. His father, Yaakov Yehoshua, a fourth-generation Jerusalemite, worked as a translator for the Mandatory government of Britain. He spoke and wrote Arabic fluently, authoring 12 books in that language. His mother, Malka, one of 11 children, was born in Essouira, Morocco. She was brought to pre-state Israel by her widowed father in 1932, and was quickly, and rather unhappily, married to Yaakov Yehoshua.

In Yair Qedar’s recent documentary, “The Last Chapter of A.B. Yehoshua,” the author says that his parents’ somewhat acrimonious marriage was what cemented in him the notion that “My wife, I will love. And I will not compromise on that matter.”

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