Haim Gouri, the poet of Israel’s founding generation, dies at 94

Haim Gouri speaks during a graduation ceremony at the Shalem Academic Center in Jerusalem in 2017.
(Sultan / EPA / Shutterstock )

Haim Gouri, a leading Israeli poet of the state’s founding generation who was seen by many as the soul and conscience of the country, has died. He was 94.

In a statement released after Gouri’s death Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin mourned his passing as “the national poet of our time” and a “life teacher.”

Gouri was born Oct 9, 1923, in Tel Aviv and fought in the Palmach, the elite force of the pre-state militia, and later served in Israel’s army, reports said.


He was a prolific and influential poet with songs about the birth of modern Israel that became deeply rooted in the country’s ethos.

However, he was not shy in airing his political views and was critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Five years ago, he told parliament that despite “knowing almost every stone in this land” he now “has difficulty recognizing it.”

Gouri was the recipient of several prestigious awards for his work, including the Israel Prize, the country’s top honor.