Ronit Elkabetz, ambassador of Israeli cinema, dies

Israeli actress who brought her country's films to the world dies after a long battle with cancer.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Ronit Elkabetz
Ronit Elkabetz
Michal Fattal/Flash 90

Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz, who helped bring her country's films to the world and became a star in France, died on Tuesday aged 51 after battling cancer, her agent said.

A mother of two, the actress, screenwriter and director appeared in films including "The Girl on the Train" alongside Catherine Deneuve and "Ashes and Blood".

Her last film, "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem", which she co-directed with her brother Shlomi Elkabetz, was nominated in the foreign language category for the 2015 Golden Globe Awards.

Elkabetz, who had never taken acting classes, received numerous awards in Israel and abroad as both an actress and director.  

She was born in 1964 in southern Israel, with her parents Jews of Moroccan origin.

A striking woman with a pale complexion and long black hair, Elkabetz began her career as a model before turning to acting, winning the Israeli equivalent of the Oscar, the Ophir award, three times.  

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev said Elkabetz's death "pained and shocked us all".

"Creation was a calling for her, she was a role model and social moral compass on the painful and sensitive issues of the Israeli and Jewish societies.  

"This is a huge loss for cinema and Israeli culture," Regev wrote on her Facebook page.

Elkabetz will be buried in Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon after a memorial ceremony at the city's Cinematheqeu.

AFP contributed this report.

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