JERUSALEM (AP) _ Author and playwright Nissim Aloni, hailed for his keen observation of Israeli foibles, has died at age 72 after suffering a stroke.

Tributes poured in Sunday from all over Israel for Aloni, who died Saturday night in a Tel Aviv hospital.

``In his plays and stories he combined light and color, drama and comedy, song and laughter,'' said Yitzhak Levy, Israel's minister for education and culture.

In his play ``Most Cruel the King,'' which had its premiere in 1953, Aloni was the first to break with the literary realism of the post-independence generation of Israeli playwrights. He had a sharp ear for the dialect and manners of the myriad ethnic groups in Israel's mainly immigrant society.

Winner of the prestigious Israel Prize in 1996, Aloni had an audience far larger than the theater-going public because he was also a leading writer of comedy skits and monologues for radio and the popular music hall.

Among his plays were ``The Emperor's New Clothes,'' (1961), ``The American Princess,'' (1963), ``The Revolution and the Chicken,'' (1964), ``The Bride and the Butterfly Hunter,'' (1967), ``Napoleon, Dead or Alive,'' (1970) and ``The Gypsies of Jaffa,'' (1971).

He was also a major translator of foreign-language works into Hebrew.

Aloni's funeral was held Sunday in Tel Aviv. A widower, he was survived by his brother, retired judge Shaul Aloni.