Playwright Nissim Aloni Is Born
Actress Hana Rovina presenting Aloni with the best playwright prize at the 1964 “Kinor David Award” Ceremony. Photo: National Photo Collection of Israel

August 24, 1926

Playwright and translator Nissim Aloni is born Nissim Levi to poor Bulgarian Jewish parents in Florentin, a low-income neighborhood in the south of Tel Aviv that becomes an inspiration for his work.

After high school, Aloni writes for BaMahane, a weekly magazine published by the Haganah and later by the Israel Defense Forces. He fights in the War of Independence, then works for multiple periodicals while studying history and French at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His first play, “Most Cruel the King,” about King Jeroboam I of Israel, creates a stir when the Habima Theater produces it in 1953. His next play, “The King’s Clothes,” establishes him as one of the state’s leading playwrights and revolutionizes Israeli theater. In 1963 he creates the Seasons Theater, which is active for three years and where he produces his own plays.

Aloni publishes and stages 12 plays, in addition to writing short stories and sketches. His work, often focusing on royal characters, earns him the Bialik Prize for literature in 1983 and the Israel Prize for stage arts in 1996. He also translates into Hebrew, adapts and directs more than 100 plays.

A stroke leaves Aloni severely disabled in his later years, and he dies at age 71 in 1998 in Tel Aviv, where a street is named for him.