The writer and poet Yotam Reuveni passed away last night (Sunday) after a struggle with a serious illness, a few days before his 72nd birthday. Reuveni, winner of the Landau Prize for Poetry, is considered one of the first Israeli writers to write about the lives of homosexuals in Israel.
The chairman of the Writers’ Association, Zvika Nir, praised him: “Last night, the community of Hebrew poets lost one of its most prominent and special poets. Yotam Reuveni was a groundbreaking poet and one of the first to give a special free and poetic expression to the gay voice in the country. He was also a gifted poetry critic and his review articles on new poetry books published in recent years in the Haaretz newspaper were a milestone in the analysis of poetry and its accessibility to readers. “
The Association for the LGBT in Israel posted on Twitter yesterday: “Tonight the writer and poet Yotam Reuveni passed away. Reuveni was the first artist in Israel to identify himself as a gay guy and the first to deal with homosexuality, in the years when the issue was not discussed and there was an explicit prohibition in the law. His courageous and groundbreaking writing will serve us and the proud struggle as a great inspiration forever. Of blessed memory”.
Reuben was born on December 2, 1949 in Iasi, Romania, as Jean Riven. At the age of seven he was orphaned by his mother. In 1964 he immigrated to Israel with his father and three brothers, lived in Ashdod and later in Kibbutz Misgav Am. In the army, he served in the Nahal Brigade, and later changed his name and served as an editor at Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth.
In 1978 he published his first book, “For the Hallucination,” which dealt with homosexuality in an unusual way at the time, and was acclaimed. The following year he published the book of poems “Reporting from an Occurrence” and the collection of stories “Disillusionment.” Since then he has published many more works, including “The Ballad of Madhat Yosef” which was created after a border soldier from Madhat Yosef was abandoned to his death in Yosef’s tomb.
In 2000 he founded Nimrod Publishing. In addition, he founded a social theater called “Nimrod – Pocket Theater”. In June 2015, on the 40th anniversary of the LGBT Association, Reuveni was included in the list of 40 personalities and events that changed Israeli society’s attitude toward the gay community, published by a public committee of the LGBT Association, A Wider Bridge and the Mako website. Over the years Reuben has won several important awards.
In August 2017, the album “The Most Beautiful Hour” was released, in which over 30 artists performed songs by Reuveni, produced by David Pearl. In 2019, he was interviewed for the documentary “The Dwakim” directed by Hadas Ayalon, which described the underground lives of homosexuals in Israel in the 1960s and 1970s.
In an interview with Walla! Culture In 2010, Yotam Reuveni said, among other things: “Like any sixty-year-old, I win in middle school, but the performance is different. ..) In the last century I believed in the inalienable principle that art is redemption.Life can be great, boring, with money, with friends, without money, without friends, but always art is redemption.The art you do, you write, and the art they did before you. And now it’s clear it’s over. Art is not redemption. It’s going to die from lack of consumers. It’s going to die because future generations did not even know it existed, that there’s something outside of reality. “.