Yizhar Smilansky (1916 – 2006), known by his pen name S. Yizhar, was an Israeli writer and politician.
Yizhar Smilansky was born in Rehovot to a family of writers. His great uncle was Israeli writer Moshe Smilansky. His father, Zev Zass Smilensky, was also a writer.
From the end of the 1930s to the 1950s, Yizhar published short novellas as well as several collections of short stories. His pen name was given to him by the poet and editor Yitzhak Lamdan, when in 1938 he published Yizhar's first story Ephraim Goes Back to Alfalfain his literary journal Galleons. From then on, Yizhar signed his works with his pen name.
In 1949, he published the novella Khirbet Khizeh. It became a best-seller and in 1964 was included in the Israeli high school curriculum.
Yizhar was a professor of education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1986-7 he was Visiting Writer at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. Later he became a lecturer at Levinsky College in Tel Aviv into the late 1990s.
In 1949 Yizhar was elected to the first Knesset, remaining a Knesset member until the 1955 elections. He returned to the Knesset in October 1956 as a replacement for Aharon Becker. In 1965 he defected to David Ben-Gurion's new Rafi party, but resigned from the Knesset on 20 February 1967.
Yizhar's knowledge of Israeli geology, geomorphology, climate, and flora is evident in his landscape descriptions and his emphasis on the relationship between person and place. Yizhar's use of language is unique. With his long sentences and combination of literary Hebrew and street jargon, he draws the reader into his heroes' stream of consciousness.