Anti-apartheid writer, activist Nadine Gordimer dies at 90

Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize-winning South African chronicler of apartheid and its aftermath, has died.

Gordimer, 90, died July 13 at home in Johannesburg, a statement from her family said, according to the New York Times.

Born in 1923 to a watchmaker from Lithuania and an English-born mother, Gordimer, who was Jewish, led a cloistered life until she attended the University of Witwatersand. She began to publish stories and novels chronicling the grappling of her countrymen, black and white, with apartheid. Some of these works were banned.

It was only after the fall of apartheid in 1991 — the year she became a Nobel literature laureate — that she revealed her own membership in the African National Congress and her role in the anti-apartheid movement.

Gordimer nonetheless maintained a critical distance from the new South African authorities, lambasting them for their postures on censorship and their resistance to promoting known treatments for AIDS.

She was critical of Israel, but rejected comparison of its policies to apartheid, a factor that led to a bitter dispute with her biographer, Ronald Suresh Roberts.

She is survived by her daughter Oriane, from her marriage to Gerald Gavron, a dentist, and her son Hugo, from her marriage to Reinhold Cassirer, an art dealer who was a refugee from Nazi Germany. — jta


David Azrieli, Montreal developer with wide holdings in Israel

David Azrieli, a real estate developer with major holdings in Israel, including the three geometric towers in the middle of Tel Aviv, has died.

Azrieli, a billionaire philanthropist whose family’s foundation has given away an estimated $100 million, died near Montreal on July 9. He was 92.

He was the founder and controlling shareholder of the Israeli real estate developer Azrieli Group. In Israel, his name was closely associated with three iconic Tel Aviv towers, in the shapes of a circle, triangle and square, called the Azrieli Center.

Known also as the “Mall Man from Montreal,” his company owns over a dozen shopping malls in Israel, as well as office buildings and subsidiaries in the energy, water and environment industries. The company also owns 20 percent of the credit card company Leumi Card and nearly 5 percent holdings in Bank Leumi Le Israel Ltd. His net worth is estimated at $3 billion.

Born in Poland, Azrieli fled the Nazis at age 17. He went to Russia and arrived in Palestine in time to fight in Israel’s War of Independence. He moved to Canada in 1954.

His family foundation’s gifts focused mainly on education but also on architecture and design, Holocaust commemoration, scientific and medical research, and the arts. — jta