Journalist and author Amnon Dankner passed away Friday night as a result of a heart attack. Family members found the 67-year-old lying unconscious in his Ramat Hasharon home and called paramedics who arrived quickly but failed to resuscitate him.
Dankner was best known for being editor-in-chief of the Hebrew daily Maariv between the years 2002-2007 and for his fiery appearances on popular political TV talk show Popolitika.
Since leaving the paper, Dankner took up acting, playing a corrupt politician on the political spoof Polishuk.
Dankner was also the author of 12 books, including a controversial biography of fellow author Dan Ben-Amotz.
Considered a close friend of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, Dankner attacked State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, who was the driving force behind the corruption charges that forced Olmert to resign in 2009, suggesting he should kill himself following Olmert’s acquittal of most charges last year.
“After this ruling, the state prosecutor should do more than just consider resigning — he should consider suicide,” he said. “What Lador did was to effectively overthrow the government. He caused a prime minister to resign, he changed the lives of millions of Israelis — a change for the worse, in my opinion — and he did it in a shameful way.”
Dankner was born in Jerusalem in 1946 to a religious family. He served in the Nahal Brigade and earned a law degree from the Hebrew University. Throughout his journalistic career he wrote for Davar, Hadashot, Haaretz, and Maariv. He was recently employed by Hebrew weekly Sof Hashavua to write a regular column.
In 2001, Dankner won Israel Media Watch’s Abramowitz Prize for Media Criticism, with judges citing his courage “to touch on all aspects of Israeli society.”
He is survived by a wife and two sons.