Palestine-born author Judith Maro dies in Wales at 91

Tribute has been paid to the Palestine-born author Judith Maro, who has died in her adopted Wales at the age of 91.

Born and brought up in Palestine during the British Mandate period, Judith Maro was a member of the Zionist paramilitary Haganah organisation.

She married a Welsh soldier, Jonah Jones, who was part of the British forces stationed in the region, and who later became a prominent sculptor.

She later moved with him to Wales, where she learned Welsh.

Ms Maro also went on to publish a number of novels and memoirs in Welsh and English, including a record of her time with the Haganah insurgency, which was praised by the veteran author and Plaid Cymru founder, Saunders Lewis.

Robat Gruffudd, of the publishing house Y Lolfa, in Talybont, Ceredigion, who published Ms Maro's most recent book, called her a "special person, a cultured and committed Jewish woman who enriched the life of Wales through her books in Welsh and English, and through her interesting and creative family".

'Questioning spirit'

"Even at a good old age, she had a sharp, independent mind and a challenging and questioning spirit. It will be strange without her."

Fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, Ms Maro taught Hebrew to new immigrants to Israel in the early 1950s.

Her books include the 1974 volume, Hen Wlad Newydd (New Old Land) which is a reflection on the similarity between Wales and Israel.

Her most recent book, The Stoat, was published in 2009. It is a multi-national murder mystery set in west Wales, and features a young Jewish girl, a Polish recluse and a Welsh detective inspector.

Ms Maro's husband died in 2004. The couple had three children and a number of grandchildren.

The funeral will take place on Thursday at Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church in Mumbles, near Swansea, where Ms Maro had lived in recent years.

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