Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist, playwright and journalist who has lived in Jerusalem since 1971. Naomi has written for the Jerusalem Post and other publications in Israel and abroad, as well as to her mailing list, about Israel and Jewish issues.

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Naomi's tenth novel The Devil in Jerusalem has been chosen by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as the number one Jewish book of the season.
The story - inspired by true events - is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. “שטן
Click the book’s cover to learn more.

Watch Valérie Abécasis' interview with Naomi on French Channel 24's Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

Naomi has published ten internationally best-selling novels, and is the author of a hit play (Women's Minyan) that has been performed more than 500 times in Israel's National Theatre (Habimah) as well as in the United States and Argentina.
An Orthodox woman, feminist and iconoclast, Naomi is a tireless advocate for women's rights in Israel, waging a relentless campaign against domestic abuse and bias in rabbinical courts, as well as a successful Supreme Court case against gender segregation on Israeli buses.
With her tenth novel, The Devil in Jerusalem, Naomi continues her ground-breaking exploration of women in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world she began in 1989 with Jephte's Daughter, followed by Sotah and The Sacrifice of Tamar.
Naomi is a sought-after lecturer all over the world. If your group is interested in hosting Naomi, please click here.

Nic Nie MówMay 2017 – The Polish translation of Devil in Jerusalem is published as Nic Nie Mów.

April 2017 – Naomi speaks about her books at the Ivan M. Stettenham Library at the Streicker Centre in New York City.

March 2017 – Naomi tours the Paris region to speak about her new book Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss.

January 2017 – Naomi is interviewed by Valérie Abécasis on French Channel 24‘s Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

“LesDecember 2016Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss, is published.

October 2016The Devil in Jerusalem is published in paperback.

November 2015 – The Jewish Telegraphic Agency puts The Devil in Jerusalem at the top of its list of the best Jewish books of the season.

November 2015 – Naomi lectured in Newton (MA), Boca Raton (FL), Miami (FL), St. Louis (MO), New York City, Atlanta (GA), Cherry Hill (NJ) and Santa Fe (NM).

“שטןAugust 2015 – Naomi’s new book, שטן בירושלים, a translation of The Devil in Jerusalem, is published.

Le Dixieme Chant8-19 March 2015 – Naomi toured France and Switzerland, speaking to her readers in Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg and Geneva about her new French book, Le Dixieme Chant, a translation of The Tenth Song.

12-20 November 2014 – Naomi lectured at the Windsor Writer’s Conference in Windsor, ON as well as in Detroit, Toronto and Winnipeg.

The Sisters Weiss7 October 2014
Naomi’s ninth novel, The Sisters Weiss, was published in paperback. It’s the story of two sisters from an ultra-Orthodox family in 1950s Brooklyn who take very different paths, and then find their lives unexpectedly intersecting again forty years later. To order the book from Amazon, click the book cover above.

8-17 August 2014 – Naomi was the scholar-in-residence on Kosherica’s Kosher Baltic Cruise aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines Star. The 9 night cruise visited Copenhagen, Rostock, Tallinn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm.

Salone Internazionale del Libro
8-9 May 2014 – Naomi took part in a panel discussion on women in Israel, together with Fiamma Nirenstein and Elena Loewenthal, at the Salone Internazionale del Libro 2014 in Turin, Italy.

December 2013 - Watch an interview (in French) with Naomi about her struggle against the haredi war on women in Israel.
Watch an interview (in French) with Naomi about Le Serment.

December 2013 - Naomi visited Île-de-France to promote her new book Le serment (the French translation of The Covenant).

Sotah 15 March 2012 - Sotah was published in Italian as L'amora proibito. Read a review (in Italian).

Jephte's Daughter March 2012 - Jephte's Daughter was published in an Italian paperback edition, as Una moglie a Gerusalemme.

Le Fantôme de Dona Gracia Mendes October 2011 - The Ghost of Hannah Mendes was published in French as Le Fantôme de Dona Gracia Mendes. Read a review (in French).

The Tenth Song October 2011 - The Tenth Song was published in paperback.

May 2011 - Four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh directed a staged reading of Women's Minyan at New York's Westside Theater. The reading was produced by One Circle Productions, in partnership with Safe Horizon.

Watch the reading. Watch an interview with Naomi and Tovah Feldshuh.

Le serment November 2013 - The Covenant was published in French as Le serment.

November 2013 - Watch an interview with Naomi by Sharon Mor of Shaulina Productions about Naomi's new book The Sisters Weiss in Hebrew or in English.

6 November 2013 - Israel's Supreme Court reversed the District Court's decision against Naomi in the Sarah Shapiro case and ordered Shapiro to return the money she was awarded. Naomi agreed that the money be donated to charity.
October-November 2013 - Naomi toured the US, visiting twelve US cities and speaking about her new book, The Sisters Weiss.
The Sisters Weiss October 2013 - Naomi's ninth novel, The Sisters Weiss, was published. Read an article about it in the San Diego Jewish World.
Chains Around the Grass August 2013 - Chains Around the Grass was published in an Amazon Kindle edition.
July 2013 - An interview with Naomi about her trips to Spain to research her best-selling The Ghost of Hannah Mendes was featured in Jewish Travel.
December 2012 - Naomi's play Women's Minyan was performed by the West Boca Theatre Company at the Levis JCC in Boca Raton, Florida.
November 2012 - Naomi visited Île-de-France speaking about her books.
5 November 2012 - Naomi spoke at the Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue in London, England.


A Harvest of Hate

Okay, okay, let’s all stand up and say it together: We are appalled at the kind of Jews who deface graves, burn down mosques and spray-paint hate slogans. I don’t know a single person in this country who disagrees or could find any way to excuse, condone or rationalize such indecent behavior.

Do we feel better now? I know what would make me feel better: never having to read another self-righteous, one-sided demonization of “settlers” or another hand-wringing, groveling apologia from my government. Although I suppose the words have to be said, they do no good, except to make the writer or speaker feel superior. They don’t illuminate the problem or in any way set us on a road to redemption.

Instead, let us all open up the books and look directly at the pictures in this bloody album, something we Jews in Israel are loath to do, preferring – if we agree to look at all – a soft-focus lens, or, better still, to shift focus completely, like the post-bus-bombing haste to pick up body parts, wash away blood and hide the charred metal carcasses before, God forbid!, a foreign reporter can snap a picture.

See, we are back to normal, whoever-is-in-charge seems to be saying with a smirk of self-congratulation. Good as new. Don’t make a fuss. Suck it up.

That actually works for most of us in Israel, most of the time. But there are those few who find it hard to move on, who want closure of some kind, call it justice, retaliation or revenge. That said, very few of them are arsonists or the ones with the spray cans.

Those are mostly idiot kids, or the kind of criminal element that always finds its way into extremist circles in all countries, religions and movements. The ones that concern me are the normal people forced to face extreme circumstances, who could very well be pushed over the edge.

Let’s start with the people of Itamar.

On March 11, at 10:20 p.m., Amjad Mahmad Awad and Hakim Awad of the adjacent village of Awarta entered the home of the Fogel family, people they did not know or have any personal past history with. They entered through the living room window, but did not notice the six-year-old sleeping on the couch.

They moved on to the bedroom, where Amjad slashed the throats of Udi (37) and his little boy Eldad (four), while Hakim held them down. When mom Ruth (34) came out of the bathroom, Amjad stabbed her numerous times, and then Hakim shot her. They found Yoav (11) reading in bed.

Amjad stabbed him in the heart. About to leave, they heard a baby cry. Amjad returned to slit the throat of three-month-old Hadas.

At their trial, the two murderers smiled constantly.

In a statement to the court, Amjad said: “I am proud of what I did.”

On September 13, Hakim was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences. Explaining their decision not to invoke the death penalty, the judges said: “The imprisoned criminal, whose life would be taken after being sentenced to death, might turn into a martyr, a shahid in their terms, with all the meanings that are attached to it.”

Dear judges, so what? He’ll go on the PA national heroes list, with every other suicide bomber and other scum. He’ll have a street named after him in Gaza. Isn’t that better than making him into an incentive for yet another terrorist kidnapping, subjecting us all for years to the pleas of desperate, grieving parents, and inevitably opening the doors and setting him free? As if that decision weren’t enough, last week residents of Awarta were permitted by Israeli authorities to enter Itamar to harvest their olives. The result could certainly have been foretold. Residents of Itamar, who firmly believe that Amjad used the last harvest to scout their homes and plan his barbaric slaughter, claimed that the Awarta villagers had drawn fingers across their throats and told them they’d be “Fogeled.”

Whether or not this is true, and I tend to believe it is, the policy-makers responsible for allowing this scenario to develop must accept full responsibility for fanning the flames of hatred and its consequent results.

ON SEPTEMBER 23, the same day the Palestinians made their bid for statehood in the UN, Asher Palmer (25) and his baby son Yonatan, residents of Kiryat Arba, were killed when their car flipped over on their way home. The police and IDF hastily reported that no rock-throwers had been sighted in the vicinity, and claimed the large boulder in the car had fallen inside when the car overturned.

Jewish residents of the area were furious, claiming the road had a long history of Palestinian violence, and that the IDF had ceased to secure it. Soon it was established beyond doubt that Palmer and his baby were victims of a terror attack, leaving residents seething.

“The police/security establishment has one fear, and one fear alone. It is not dead Jews.

It is dead Arabs,” David Wilder wrote in the Internet magazine Hebron on September 25.

The alleged terrorists, residents of Hebron, were arrested; they now await trial and hopefully justice.

On October 3, vandals torched the mosque in Tuba Zanghariya, a Beduin village known to support the State of Israel and have many residents serving in the IDF. Why did vandals choose this village? According to, this entire area of the Galilee has suffered years of bitter conflict and vandalism so severe that Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi and nearby Kibbutz Amiad have had to abandon 1,700 dunams of land as a result. Feeling abandoned themselves by authorities, the farmers formed Irgun Hashomer Hahadash, a volunteer force whose stated aim is to “prevent incursions onto agricultural lands by hostile neighbors who steal crops, herds and farm equipment, often using arson as an effective tool. Those involved in these illegal acts are wearing away at farmers and ranchers on a daily basis, creating financial havoc.

Meanwhile, the authorities have been unable to prevent these acts.”

Since we don’t yet know who set fire to the mosque in Tuba Zanghariya, a despicable and inexcusable act putting the perpetrators on a par with the lowlifes in Gaza who destroyed numerous synagogues in Gush Katif, we can’t really judge motivation. But the graffiti they left behind included the name Asher Palmer.

NO ONE can predict the emotional damage to the victims of terrorism as a result of our government’s recent move to free 1,027 convicted terrorists, but the reactions have already begun. Shvuel Schijveschuurder, 27, whose parents, Mordechai and Tzira, brother Avraham (four) and sisters Hemda (two) and Ra’aya (14) were murdered in the suicide bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in 2001, poured white paint over the Tel Aviv memorial to former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in response to the proposed release of Ahlam Tamimi, convicted of driving the bomber to the site. Predictable outrage followed: Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said, “Hands that allow themselves to hurt what is sacred and important to the people of Israel must be cut off.”

Yes, I agree. But I disagree about what is sacred and important.

Pursuing justice and implementing it is sacred and important to the Jewish people, and all people.

At the moment, the greatest thing the State of Israel can do to stop Jewish vigilantes is to stop creating situations that cry out for revenge. The government can start by wiping the smile off Amjad Awad’s face. His crime cries out for the death sentence. It is long overdue and will go far in reassuring us all that justice is possible, and in the right hands.


This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post on Friday, 21 October 2011.

12 comments to A Harvest of Hate

  • what a catch 22. Jews are the smarted/dumb people on earth. We want to be loved rather
    than respected and FEARED.

  • The Jews are the smartest dumb people on God’s green earth. Who cares wether we
    are liked. We need to be feared to save our children. Otherwise why should they
    grow up to be just like we are….the world’s grovelers.

  • […] “Good as new. Don’t make a fuss. Suck it up.” Posted on 11/03/2011 by LadyRavenSDC Lead to slaughter by your own people.  Does this sound familiar? Naomi Ragen – A Harvest of Hate […]

  • […] Naomi Ragen talks about how Israeli court in charge of the case of the Fogel murders would not give the 2 jihadists who committed the horrifying crime the death sentence because it would “make martyrs” out of them: Okay, okay, let’s all stand up and say it together: We are appalled at the kind of Jews who deface graves, burn down mosques and spray-paint hate slogans. I don’t know a single person in this country who disagrees or could find any way to excuse, condone or rationalize such indecent behavior. […]

  • Naomi Romn

    Naomi, all that you say is true, but as long as the Jewish Left which unfortunately includes the Israeli news media is in power I see no end to this travesty of justice. Also it is past time to shake up the government and get rid of the traitors including Peres.

  • pesach aceman

    In the past few days more rockets and one death in Ashkelon. My daughter sent home from university, a son of friends sent home from his studies at an ‘army’ high school. When is enough enough. our leadership needs to be indicted as traitors to our country.. when i first arrived on aliyah in the 70’s, i could travel freely anywhere in this country Now it is us who are afraid. It is time to put this back the way it should be. We have coddled to international opinion (which will never change!) and sucked up for fear of ???? I say enough is enough. Time send rockets into Gaza. Time to announce to the world that one more rocket means the end of Gaza (no soldiers to enter is needed all from the air and rockets). To to announce at the UN that one more rocket from Lebanon means the end of Beirut and Lebanon and Syria. Enough is Enough I am bleeding but no one comes to help And to top it all there is no peep from our great religious leaders who are witness to the spiritual destruction of the next generation as they see 1. they cannot trust the government (Gush Katif, Amona,Migron etc): they cannot trust the IDF (the officer in charge of Yehuda and Shomron who was recently moved but only after two years of giving his anti-Israel opinions freely, Gush Katif, Amona,Migron etc etc), they cannot trust the police who will quickly arrest any Jew but never touch an Arab who throws stones to kill, who burn tires and who love death more than life, the administration who allow illegal building in East Jerusalem (that extends from Jerusalem to Ramallah), all of the Arab villages, Um al Fakhm, etc etc that no police will enter for fear of their lives but allow the same people to throw rocks, entice others to violence and kill freely. The other thin to do with the murderers of Fogel hang them and bury them in pigskin – the excuse of the court is just that an excuse and nothing more. No sucking up will ever prevent any martyrdom but pigskin will. Sould we respect their places of worship when they have destroyed every synagogue they could???? HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE CARRY ON WITH A GALUT MENTALITY OF SH SH IT WILL PASS. I could go on but my words are usually seen as harsh, very outragious. But there is only one language that such people as the Arabs understand (even th so called educated ones) and that is strength and belief in what you are doing. Do we belief we have a right to be here sufficiently to be able to protect our sons and daughters from future murder? The release of terrorists is without words as we rejoice in the delayed (once again our sucking up instead of hours after kidnapping acting with strength) release of Gilad Shalit. But his conscience will bear the terror that follows. So what more can be said. TIME FOR ACTION AND ONLY BY ACTING WILL HASHEM HELP US (As He had through every war except the last one when the heart was not where it should be and the head which is full of garbage, dictated that war in Lebanon.

  • Lee from London

    Firstly we do not know for certain if the mosque ‘incident’ was perpetrated by settlers as the graffetti could have spelt ‘Abbas’. Secondly, if as you so rightly stated that the IDF are not helping the settlers. However, I am of the opinion that the more frustrated the settlers become then the greater the chances are that they will leave the West Bank making the eventual Judenrein of the area much easier for the giving over of it the to Abbas and Co. The withdrawing of settler’s firearms permits is another method of reducing the settler’s ability to defend themselves, thereby encouraging them to leave. What sort of message does does the Israeli government think this sends out to the young that want to go to live in Israel.

  • Hannah Sealey

    Surely Itamar should be off limits for the people of Awarta. How can the residents of Itamar feel safe when they are left vulnerable?

  • […] to death because “that would make them martyrs”. What do you think they are now?

  • Lea de Lange

    I cannot understand how any people would tolerate this horrible place called Awarta to remain after the deeds committed there which even old Nineveh would be ashamed of.
    How cruel can we become to our own population? Awarta has to be burned down and its population should go looking for some other quarters.
    It is either this crude and non lethal justice or falling back to the times of the Judges.

    • ann

      I agree Lea. It sickens me to think the family members of the murderer hakim awad was allowed into Itamar to taunt the surviving daughter Tamar. They should have been deported after that.

  • Naomi Shalom Re: A Harvest of Hate.
    You wrote..
    “last week residents of Awarta were permitted by Israeli authorities to enter Itamar to harvest their olives.”

    This is somewhat ambiguous- were the Awarta residents picking their own olives -their trees were in Itamars’s areas- or were the olives Itamar’s and the Awarta resdents hevesting for Itamar?