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Ben-Amitai, Levi


BEN-AMITAI, LEVI (1901–1980), Hebrew writer. He received a general education in his native Belorussia and in 1917 joined the He-Ḥalutz movement. In 1920 he emigrated to Palestine, where he worked as a manual laborer. He became a member of kibbutz Deganyah Bet in 1925, and worked there first as an agricultural laborer, then as a teacher. His stories and sketches in Hebrew periodicals began to appear in 1925. His books of poetry include Ha-Shibbolim Penimah (1934); Leilot ba-Maẓor (1939); Ba-Kevuẓah (1938); Sadot she-ba-Emek (1950); Oholivah (1959); Mi-Midbar Mattanah (1962), poems about the Essenes; and Osfei Kayiẓ (1966). He edited the anthologies Deganiyyot (1955) and Ha-Sofer ba-Kevuẓah (1956), and was coeditor of a collection of short stories by writers in cooperative agricultural settlements, entitled Al Admatam (1959). Ben-Amitai's poetry is distinguished by its short verses, and restrained, almost prosaic style. The agricultural-folk setting takes on symbolic dimensions by virtue of the connotative language he chooses. Much of his writing is charged with strong religious accents that evoke a prayerful mood.

add. bibliography:

R. Peled, Yaḥid ve-Yaḥad be-Shirat Levi Ben-Amitai ba-Shanim 19251939 (1993).

[Getzel Kressel]

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