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 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.



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 - begins with an ambulance screaming through Jerusalem’s quiet streets. Inside, a toddler fights for his life, his parents nowhere to be found. With profound shock, an emergency room doctor realizes that the child’s mother, a young American, is already at the hospital sitting at the bedside of yet another child with traumatic injuries, devoutly reciting Psalms and stubbornly refusing to answer any questions. “שטן
The Devil in Jerusalem is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. Click the book’s cover to learn more.


Join Naomi in New York at the Skirball Center's Meet the Author Evening on April 25, 2017 at 6:30PM.





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.


October 2016 - The 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 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.

Categories

Recent Comments

An American in Israel

The American consulate seems to be exclusively aimed at benefiting West Bank and east Jerusalem Palestinians.

Remember that scene in “Not Without My Daughter” when Sally Field sees the American flag waving over the American Embassy in Istanbul as she flees Iran? “We’re home baby, we’re home,” she tells her daughter.

Every American abroad knows that feeling. Unfortunately for us Jewish Americans forced to use the American Consulate in Jerusalem, it hasn’t felt like home for some time.

It started during the intifada, when, despite daily terrorist threats in the streets of Jerusalem aimed at Jews, the Consulate forced us to go to east Jerusalem to renew our passports and even to bring our newborns there for birth certificates. It literally felt as if a person was taking her life into her hands. Once there, she took her place outside behind a long line of mostly Arab visa-seekers, increasing her sitting-duck feeling almost to the breaking point.

Thankfully, in 2010 the Consulate moved to its new home in Arnona in the western part of the city. Inside, however, things are pretty much the same. Almost all local employees are Arabic-speaking Palestinians. I never hear a word of Hebrew. This isn’t coincidental.

A quick look at the cultural activities on the Consulate’s website and its Arabic language Facebook page (the Consulate does not have a Hebrew language Facebook page) shows activities exclusively aimed at benefiting West Bank and east Jerusalem Palestinians, whether the focus is women’s rights or small businesses. Even Environment Day had the consul going to Wadi Kelt “to observe local flora and fauna in one of the West Bank’s most vibrant natural habitats.” As for local hires, almost all job descriptions require Arabic.

After speaking with one of the very few Jewish-American Consulate employees, I now realize why.

Eliana M. Aaron is by all accounts a remarkable woman. The first practicing nurse practitioner in Israel, she holds degrees from Yeshiva University, New York University and Rutgers University and was recently accepted to a select doctoral program in nursing at Yale. The great-niece of the late senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania, she made aliya in 2002 with her husband, Avrum, a lawyer, to participate in the Zionist dream. Instead, she has found herself, with tragic irony, the victim of what she describes as an anti-Jewish campaign orchestrated by none other than the American Consulate in Jerusalem set up to serve the interests of Americans living abroad.

It all started in 2004 when she accepted the position of advanced practice nurse and medical officer for the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, founding its health unit and being put in charge of the healthcare of US diplomats and their family members, VIP US government visitors and local staff. Her reputation was such that when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Israel, Clinton’s staff personally requested Aaron as their medical officer. Responsible for only work-related health issues for local staff, she went way beyond, once managing to coordinate between the IDF and the Palestinian Authority to rush a Palestinian staff member’s hemorrhaging newborn to an advanced Israeli operating room, saving his life.

Nevertheless, from the beginning, Aaron says she found the working environment at the Consulate overtly hostile toward her as an Orthodox Jew and an Israeli. “In 2004 my supervisor, Sylvia Martinez, told me that others didn’t want to work with me because I was Jewish,” she says. In 2005, the head of USAID at the Consulate bent her ear describing a movie about suicide bombers and how “she now understood and sympathized with them.”

But the real problems started in 2010. “A diplomat who was about to give birth insisted that I make arrangements for her at a hospital in Nazareth. Well, there is no hospital in Nazareth. Next, she insisted on a Palestinian hospital in east Jerusalem. But that hospital didn’t have a maternity ward.” When Aaron explained this, the woman responded angrily, accusing her of “just saying that because you are Jewish.”

From that moment onward, Aaron found herself reprimanded again and again for not providing enough options for Palestinian doctors and hospitals for the Consulate staff. “I was hired because I had connections to the best local medical care. It was my job to find doctors with Western degrees, who spoke English and had an excellent reputation. Now I was being asked to lower my criteria. I was being told to choose by race and religion as a priority instead of quality of care. This was unacceptable to me.”

She describes how human resources officer Katherine Bischoff (who would later wear a “Free Palestine” T-shirt to Ben Gurion Airport when she was on leave to the US) pointed an accusing finger at her, saying: “People don’t want to wait in waiting rooms full of Orthodox Jews. Find us [i.e., Consulate personnel] Palestinian doctors.”

According to Aaron, when she complained to her supervisor about the prejudiced remark, she was simply blown off. Eventually, she selected a Palestinian clinic in east Jerusalem. “But when the head was arrested for affiliation with Hamas, I refused to contact him even though my supervisor and American security officers wanted me to continue.”

Realizing her superiors would not help, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO) in 2011. She says she did this not only for herself, but for every Israeli Jew working for the Consulate, most of whom are low-level employees afraid of losing their jobs. “What I suffered was tip of the iceberg to what goes on there,” she says. Her work conditions consistently worsened. In a grievance filed against her acting supervisor, Edward “Dwayne” Jefferson, she details how he told her: “When you speak, it’s a bitch session.” According to Aaron, Jefferson made it clear to her colleagues that he had made firing her a priority.

Despite her pending EEO complaint, she was, in her words, “systematically targeted.” They took away her company car, accusing her of “unauthorized use” in the “settlements” after she took it to a car wash in Modi’in: “They took away my flextime, stripped my position description, almost every request was challenged, leave requests denied, my medical confidentiality violated and, worse, I was asked to violate my patients’ confidentiality.”

Weekly, anonymous callers accused her of taking kickbacks, selling government equipment, tax fraud and, most wounding of all to this caring, meticulous professional, medical misconduct.

According to Aaron, despite every allegation being thoroughly investigated and found baseless, she was nevertheless fired in a well-orchestrated termination that had been planned months in advance. The grounds? “They told me I had “misused a government vehicle” and “stolen” the vaccinations I received after being asked to get them by the Office of Medical Services in the State Department.”

Furious and heartbroken over what she considered illegal retaliatory actions for her EEO complaint, Aaron appealed her dismissal to US Consul General Michael Ratney. He refused to reconsider.

In January 2013, she filed a lawsuit against the Consulate in the Jerusalem Labor Court demanding to be reinstated and compensated. Facing mounting legal bills, she says the Consulate delayed paying her termination compensation – which has only just now been paid – and has not returned her medical license or her personal computer files that contain her pay stubs. Instead, Consulate officials have accused her of “stealing consulate property” – i.e., her work laptop, employee ID and mobile phones, all of which she informed them were at her lawyer’s office for them to pick up, as she has been barred from entering the Consulate.

Like David facing Goliath, she has no illusions: “I am going up against a big and powerful machine. But I want justice to be done. And if that means fighting, I will fight.”

When I asked about Aaron, I received the following response from Leslie Ordeman, the US Consulate press attaché and spokesperson: “We do not provide details on specific administrative actions internal to the mission due to privacy and legal concerns. We can say generally that whenever disciplinary action is taken against a local employee of any of our diplomatic missions overseas we follow all relevant local labor laws and State Department regulations. United States diplomatic missions overseas, to include the Consulate General in Jerusalem, maintain work environments that promote tolerance and reflect the American values we endorse worldwide. We have no tolerance for racial or religious discrimination.”

As she waits for the slow wheels of justice to turn and to be fully reinstated in her position in the Consulate, the highly qualified Aaron has received a number of job offers. She is currently a Yale doctoral candidate as well as being involved in two non-profit organizations: the Association of Mid-level Medical Providers in Israel — an advocacy group to advance nursing practice and recognition for foreign-trained nurse practitioners in Israel, of which she is co-founder — and Level Lev, the African Refugee Clinic in Tel Aviv, where she is volunteer director of research.

Instructions for contacting US Senators, Congressmen, the Secretary of State and the US Consulate are here.

 

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on 1 March 2013.

 

67 comments to An American in Israel

  • Sue Blake

    Freya…you must rise up now too….we are with you and you have many standind with you and the others……

  • NRL

    You write on the bottom that this article was in the JP on March 2012 when in reality it was posted, “March 2013”..

  • Freya Krieger

    Unfortunately this is an old story. We have experienced such treatment in the consulate since 1969 when we made aliyah, whether it was registering our Israeli and Jerusalem born children or renewing passports. You walk in and feel you are in a foreign country, and not a friendly one! Hopefully now someone is listening to peoples’ protests and something will be done, although I am of little faith that this will happen!! Good for you Naomi for exposing this and we pray for a good outcome for Eliana.

    • DaveA

      Freya, exposing this outrage is just the first small step. We all need to protest and demand action to end it permanently and completely.

  • jan

    JUST ONE QUESTION: IF THE PEOPLE AT THE CONSULATE HATE THE JEWS SO MUCH & ARE SO OPENLY ANTISEMITIC WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN ISRAEL? LET THEM GO TO ARAB COUNTRY & EXPERIENCE PARADISE THERE.

    • DaveA

      Jan, my answer would be that people go where the jobs and money are, despite individual politics and opinions. American Embassy & Consulate employees receive quite good salaries, perks and benefits.

      Several such employees in Israel and other countries are locals, not only Americans stationed abroad, so your “solution” doesn’t really apply to such local residents. However, that shouldn’t exempt them from treating American citizens of all faiths, creeds and colors with equal courtesy and fairness, in full accordance with traditional American values expected to be followed in facilities owned and operated by the American government. Such facilities are considered sovereign American territory under international law, and this applies to those of all other countries.

      • Sue Blake

        write to the consulates…we pay their salaries.
        we pay the Congressmen and Senators salaries also.
        This must stop….

        • DaveA

          I have written to the Consulate as well as to my Senators and Congressman. None of them has replied so far. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • Charles Feinstein

    I was appalled to read of this condition and immediately wrote to my Senator to inform him of these heinous behaviors. I urge others to write to their Representatives and ask for this situation to be brought to light.

    • DaveA

      Charles, this is exactly what I did shortly after Naomi published her shocking article, i.e. I wrote to my Senators and Congressman about this abominable and wholly unacceptable situation at the Consulate. I await their replies.

      • Charles Feinstein

        As for all difficult issues, the solution is never easy, the offenders have friends in high places who like the status quo, and the people who pick up the rock to show the bugs underneath, have to be ready to keep picking up the rocks until everything is clear.

        • DaveA

          Charles, I’ve “picked up another rock” by e-mailing the State Dept.’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Though I’m pessimistic, I nevertheless hope that it will take action against the Consulate. Time will tell.

          • Sue Blake

            ggod job!! we all need to do the same…

          • Eliana

            Did they reply? The OIG has never been interested in this subject, although I have brought it to their attention on numerous occasions.

          • DaveA

            I received a preliminary reply announcing that my complaint was being forwarded to the State Dept.’s “Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.” I e-mailed this to Naomi… did she not let you know?

            Last week I phoned the Dept., but the guy who spoke with me wasn’t aware of the complaint and told me that he would check it with the Consulate and e-mail me afterwards. However, I had a strong impression from the tone of his voice that he had no intention of doing that or anything else.

            Today I tried phoning him again, but was told that he is out of the office until tomorrow, but the woman who answered the call said that she would give him a message that I called again.

            There has also been no response from my Congressman and Senators.

            I am not optimistic.

            Dave

          • Charles Feinstein

            I never received a reply from the State Department for my letter informing them of this deplorable condition. Neither did I receive any reply from my senator (Pat Toomey R-PA) regarding this.

          • DaveA

            To Eliana: A few minutes ago I phoned the State Dept. yet again. The reply I received was that they gave the many my message, but they are in the middle of moving to a new location, so there are delays.

            Unfortunately, my sense is that the Dept. has absolutely no intention of dealing with my complaint, and that I am merely wasting valuable time and effort in pursuing it.

            Moreover, my Senators and Congressman have not yet answered my letters to them from last month. If they also refuse to deal with your case, then I fear that we’ve hit a brick wall and will get nowhere.

            I’m truly and deeply sorry.

            Dave

  • Sue Blake

    I am absolutely appalled at this. Why is it allowed??? Why are we hiring Arabs when so many Isralies are in need of work??
    I don’t think we have to wait at all for a more conciliatory administration. We need to let our voices ring loud and clear. Americans and Christians, especially need to stand up for our friends.
    I am glad it has been uncovered and now it needs to be told to all.
    We need to be on top of this and not let it fall under the table, so to speak.

    • DaveA

      Sue, I hope your post means that you have demanded an urgent investigation of the Consulate followed by swift and severe disciplinary action against all Consulate employees involved, including the Consul General himself.

  • Regarding whether there have been acts of anti-Semitism at the Consulate before Obama’s time: definitely.

    It must have been at least a decade ago that I went to the Consulate (not the one on Agron Street, but the other one at its former location) on an errand. The security guard, a young Arab man, inspected my bag as required, and then gave me directions to the office where I wanted to go. He ended the directions with the following words: “Roohi le-jehenna.”

    I walked a few steps, then stopped, stunned. While I don’t speak fluent Arabic, I do know that phrase: the security guard, an employee of the Consulate of the country of which I am a citizen, had just told me to go to Hell. I turned around and asked him: “What did you just say?” He answered, “I said ‘Te-fadli’ — welcome, go on ahead.” I said, “No, you didn’t. You just told me to go to Hell.”

    I looked around. There was no one in the room but the two of us, and he wasn’t wearing a name tag. I confess that under those circumstances, I felt deterred from pursuing the matter further — which he was probably counting on.

    Later, I wrote the Consulate an email. To their credit, they responded, expressing distress over the way I’d been treated and asking for more details. I gave them all the details I could, but since the security guard hadn’t been wearing a name tag and there were no other witnesses, I can’t say for certain whether anything at all was done.

    • Eliana

      Unfortunately I have heard of many anti-Semitic comments. They take advantage of those of us who don’t speak Arabic. A Palestinian man at work called me and my Jewish co-workers Jewish donkeys and not only was no action taken (by his Palestinian supervisor) but that person continued to work in our vicinity for years mumbling and cursing under his breath.

  • fred

    During the Roosevelt era, a notorious anti-semite in the foreign office was insrumental in doing all he could to abandon Jews
    Read David Wymans book on the holocaust

  • DaveA

    Wendy, of course there is no reason for such Jew-hatred at the Consulate, and this is why strong protests and demands to end it are vitally necessary now.

    I continue to wait for replies about it from my Senators and Congressman and hope to receive them soon.

    • Eliana

      I am happy to report that one Congressman has contacted me and is going to take this up with the committee of foreign affairs, but one is not enough. I think a continued political effort may combat the anti-Semitism that is fully ingrained in Consulate policy, and one Congressman may not be enought to drive the kind of investigation we all want.

      • DaveA

        I also wrote to the State Dept.’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the pessimistic hope that said office will take meaningful action.

        Eliana, after all the “dreck” you had to endure at the Consulate, do you really want to be reinstated there? Just asking.

  • Dan Snyder

    I was appalled to read Naomi Ragen’s article on the situation in the American consulate in Jerusalem. The person running that consulate should be relieved of his duty and assigned to a consulate in Syria, or some other place where few Jews exist.

    Dan Snyder

    • Avigdor Ben-Dov

      Jamal is a very polite public figure at the Consulate and does a professional job. The problem isn’t at the consular level, but higher up, the US Embassy in TA, the State Dept. or other Washington political echelons and maybe even the White House (Obama is not known in Israel for his fairness and justice–take, for example, the Jonathan Pollard affair).

  • Menucha Levin

    It’s high time that the anti-Semitic attitude of the American Consulate came to light. We’ve had numerous unpleasant dealings with them over the years. Our son was granted an American passport but then a couple of weeks later he was asked to return it until my husband provided ‘further evidence’ that he was indeed an American citizen. They cross-examined him in a very nasty way. We later found out that numerous other Americans
    were also given a hard time when they tried to obtain American citizenship for their Jerusalem-born children. I hope this disgusting situation continues to be exposed.

    • DaveA

      Menucha, I’m waiting for replies from my Senators and Congressman regarding my demand for an urgent investigation of the Consulate.

      It is no surprise that my protest to Consul Ratney more than a week ago has not been answered.

      Therefore, my sense is that the Consulate and its employees will oppose any effort to change its disgusting behavior. May I be proven wrong!!

  • Dan Rosen

    To Eliana and Ms. Ragen —

    How can the average American Jew help out? Is there a way to publicize this to the audience here which might actually effect results?

  • A. Ben-Dov

    I phoned the consulate in Arnona/Talpiot to complain about this discrimination against Jewish American citizens residing in Israel and about the firing of a Jewish worker and verbal mistreatment. The clerk who answered my call was most probably an Arab or at least an Arab speaker and refused to pass my call on to the Consul and did not identify himself. He did suggest that if I wrote an email he would relay the message. I have no way of knowing if this will be done and do not trust the no-name to cooperate since the voice was hostile in tone.

    • DaveA

      I addressed an e-mail protest to Consul Ratney earlier this week, but not surprisingly, I have received no response. Quite honestly, I don’t expect to receive one, since disregard of protests and complaints is “standard operating procedure” in such cases.

  • Sarah Bronson

    I’m curious to know how so many people here blame Obama for this woman’s story, when it says in the article her problems started as soon as she was hired – in 2004. Obama did not become president until January of 2005.

    • DaveA

      Sarah, speaking for myself, I have not blamed and do not blame Obama personally for Eliana’s horrendous ordeal. The US Consulate in Jerusalem has been taken over by State Dept. Jew-hatred that has persisted even before the modern State of Israel was established in 1948.

      Imagine an American (or any other country’s) embassy or consulate in a Muslim country ordering its medical officer to “find us Jewish doctors” and neglect to set up Internet and Facebook pages in Arabic or other languages spoken by Muslims.

      What? You can’t imagine it?? Of course not because it is completely unimaginable!!

    • Naomi Ragen

      As I wrote in my article, this problem is an old one and definitely predates Obama. I hold the State Department responsible. Read “While Six Million Died” and look at how the State Department behaved towards Jews during the Holocaust. Nothing has changed over there.

  • fanny asimow

    My husband is an american and we are living in jJerusalem so that we are not surprised of Aaron’s experience.
    We witnessed the situation when we went to the get services at the consulate .We share her feelings and are happy that Aaron can share her experience with everybody ready to try to make a change in the way the consulate at Jerusalem behaves and operates.
    I must add thet we expect the american embassy personnel to behave equally/unbiased for all – to israeli/jewish or arab and palestinian coming to get services .

  • Don Feinstein

    This is a tale of horror. Nothing will change until the current administration is out of office – that includes all advisors. I do not understand why we American Jews vote Democratic in lock step. I tell my friends you are not just voting for a candidate, you are voting for his friends, advisors and their belief systems. You must look beyond the candidate and investigate his background and his friends. It was apparent to me Obama has a problem with Israel from the beginning – yet he is supported by Jews across America. I just don’t understand it. American Jews – time to open your eyes and admit — the emperor has no clothes.

    • DaveA

      Indeed, Don, I share your bewilderment regarding the majority of American Jews. I also don’t see that the new Secretary of State would be inclined to do anything about this true tale of horror.

      Even The State Dept.’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG)seems no more willing to seek justice for Eliana.

      Perhaps my Congressman and Senators will take some sort of action.

  • Jonathan Isserlin

    I suppose one should not be surprised to hear this, but thank you very much, Naomi, for bringing it to light and for being responsible, via your list, for it being widely distributed among the American public. The problem as I see it from the relative distance of Canada, is that with the current occupant of the White House, his two new appointments in State and Defence, all being supported by a large majority of American Jews who seem incapable of doing anything but closing their eyes and ears and voting Democrat. Until this blind allegiance to a thoroughly flawed party is changed, I see no change anywhere on the horizon. Why would Obama and his cronies change their attitude towards Jews and Israel when those same Jews continue voting for him and his party?

  • Donna S.

    This is appalling! This goes along with all of obamas obvious arab leanings. What can we do to change this?

  • calamity jane

    I doubt that things will improve given the attitude of the current U.S. administration [as evidenced by its appointees].

    But I’d like to see signs & Jews, lots of them, when Kerry & Obama arrive in Israel & everywhere they go, especially in Jerusalem.

    The Arabs make their voices heard loud & clear. It’s time we did the same.

    If we don’t support ourselves, why should anyone else support us?.

  • Lauren

    This is appalling! How can I help? How can we take action?

  • The word was “teddy bear” missions…not sure what happened to the “t”.

  • I can’t tell you how upset I became when I read your article but I am not surprised by any of this. I organize “eddy bear” missions, this past one was my #9th. I travel to many Israeli hospitals, child protective services, orphanages, live in and 12 hour day care centers, treatment centers, etc. distributing toys collected from here in Bergen County, NJ and throughout America, to be donated to ALL Israeli children. No one asks if a child is Jewish or not upon distributing our toys to them.
    I have seen time and time again, how our Israeli Jewish brothers and sisters have bent over backwards to make sure that Israeli Arabs have jobs in their Israeli hospitals, etc. and that there are welcoming centers and offices for the Israeli Arabs, etc. as well.I have to travel to such places to ensure our collection spots in America that those drop off points are included on my tour. In order for me to be allowed to collect in some American public places, I have to document visually that my collections of toys are shared with Israeli Arabs or else I can’t collect in those places. Thankfully, there are many Arabs parents who agree to have them and their children photographed. What a world we live in.
    Many many thanks for writing this article.

  • Rafael

    There seems little doubt that the anti-Jewish / anti-Israel sentiment is deliberate. It sounds like the US consulate is stridently pushing the line that “East Jerusalem is Arab” The fact that the Consulate is in Arnona is irrelevant. It illustrates what sort of response Jews are going to get if other parts of Jerusalem become under the Arab Chevra’s control. Pretty negative I’d say… but it’s a good warning.

  • A. Ben-Dov

    Thank you Naomi for publishing this scandalous anti-Jewish and anti-Israel behavior. I have had occasion to visit both the old “East Jerusalem” consulate and the newer building in Arnona for much needed travel documents and Social Security issues. Both times I felt like I was in fatahland with so many “Palestinians” swarming around and also in positions of authority over Americans living in Israel. The atmosphere was hostile and the service reflected the disrespect and disdain for Jews, Americans or not. IF life could be made uncomfortable for Jews it was done with relish and no apologies. Bureaucracy rampant with the spice of hate and malice aforethought. I hope the window that Naomi opened here will result in some housecleaning in the consulate of America which is supposed to serve all Americans without discrimination of race or religion. There are few Jewish workers due to the unfair requirement to work on Jewish holidays and Shabat. The State Dept. makes allowances for Arab holidays, not Jewish ones.

  • Janice

    A small inaccuracy is that there are at least 3 hospitals in Nazareth – I hear adverts for the English Hopsital there on the local radio station and know some Jewish people who have been treated there and given birth there. It has a good reputation for delivering babies. There is also the French hospital and the Italian hospital. Maybe they do not have the departments that were needed – but there are hospitals there.

    • Naomi Ragen

      Dear Janice,
      There might be several hospitals in Nazareth, but not one of them was approved for use by American diplomats or personnel at the time Ms. Aaron was hired to find the best medical care for the Consulate staff. Ms. Aaron was simply trying to do her job with integrity.

  • George AZ

    In my earlier email I inserted 2 links that got stripped out of my message. For some info on the Consul and his wife, see http://visasforterrorists.blogspot.com.au/2007/12/when-you-pass-go-you-collect-more.html, and a US_Israeli blogger on the same topic at http://myrightword.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/us-jerusalem-consulate-activitiesthat.html

  • Mark Leventhal

    I think it is reflection of the current executive branch of the US government. The appointment of Kerry and Hagel are more focused reflections of the current president.

  • Naomi R.

    Many thanks Naomi for this stunning expose of gross injustice on the part of the US. Unfortunately I do not see a quick solution unless there is a miraculous change in administration in the near future. My best wishes to Eliana Aaron. If there is anyway we can help please let us know.

  • Greg Kay

    I agree with Natacha, after having worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv from 1993-96. The environment there was very positive and nurturing, and I very much regret to hear Ms. Ragen’s report about her now-former employer. I also wonder whether a State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) trip is scheduled to visit the East Jerusalem Consulate in the foreseeable future, because if so, this is an area that I would expect to be given significant attention and rectified, based on the OIG’s mandated responsibilities. I look forward to hearing more about the situation, and sincerely hope that Ms. Ragen lands soundly on her feet whatever her future may hold.

    • Naomi Ragen

      Dear Mr. Kaye,
      As I understand from Eliana Aaron, she spoke to the State Department of Inspector General when they were here last and told the staff everything that was going on. Not a single word of it was included in their final report. Also, Mr. Kaye, were you part of that staff? Just curious.

  • George AZ

    The Consul, Michael Ratney, is an Arabic speaker and has had several prior postings to Arab countries.

    His wife, Karen Sasahara, also works for the Foreign Office – State Department. She was involved in some murky activity in Jeddah (see ).

    Another American-Israeli blogger has blogged about the Consulate at

    I hope your article prompts enough of a stink for this to be investigated.

  • ER

    You might ask the Consulate press attaché and spokesperson if there is a policy of prefering non-Israeli or non-Jewish medical clinics and personnel

  • DaveA

    I also want to demand action. Please provide the names and contact info of the people responsible for this thoroughly appalling and unacceptable behavior.

  • Judith Gedalia

    Please give email and snail mail addresses so that the people responsible for this injustice can be bombarded with letters of outrage.
    Thank You.

    • Eliana

      Judith, Thank you so much for this show of support. I am discussing this with Naomi and my attorney so that people who want to actively help the anti-Semitism will have an address.

      • DaveA

        Indeed, Eliana, many of us want to protest this appalling behavior most strongly and demand immediate and effective action by the right person/people to eliminate such thoroughly infuriating and unacceptable Jew-hatred at the Consulate.

        We hope to hear from you soon.

        • Eliana

          hi Dave,
          As you can see, Naomi published some ideas for active involvement. Someone else mentioned the upcoming presidential visit as a possible time for protesting the anti-Semitism evident by the Consulate. I think that is a great idea. I came forward for the expressed purpose of exposing the gross injustice that occurs to all Jewish customers, especially US citizens, in their un-American actions. My experiences as an employee highlights that the problem starts at the roots and is pervasive “behind the scenes” of the visa or passport counter. This is sanctioned US government policy.

          Thank you for your interest in taking this to the next step, I hope that as a group, our cause will reach the highest levels of US government, so real change can be implemented and those who come after us can receive fair, equitable treatment.

          • DaveA

            Thanks Eliana,

            I e-mailed a protest to Consul Ratney and advised him that I have written to my Senators and Congressman. I copied Naomi’s article to them and demanded an urgent investigation followed by prompt and severe disciplinary action against all Consulate personnel who harassed and abused you so horribly, including the Hon. Consul himself, who chose to reject your appeal to him. Naomi has a copy of my e-mail if you’d like to see it.

            I’d also be pleased to receive your e-mail address; I suppose that via Naomi is the easiest way for this… if you agree to provide it, of course!

            Regarding a protest during Obama’s visit, I would be interested in learning how that would be done. It could mean “hell to pay” in terms of the harsh reaction it is liable to provoke from “trembling Israelites” deathly afraid of upsetting the President and his thugs… I mean, travel companions!!

  • Shaul/Paul Levenson

    Yes, Kerry ought to make a fast move to clear up this anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, nasty behavior. It’s not just an attitude it’s the actions against her, Senator Spector’s daughter, for Heaven’s Sake, that are so disgusting. Are you saying that the Media of all kinds have been unaware of these actions all along, for 6 plus years and have never reported it?? And I get several Jewish magazines & newspapers, and they never reported this?? Something ought to be done, and I’m willing to take action. Rabbi Paul/Shaul Levenson, Newton, Ma

  • Bravo Naomi for exposing this! Daylight is the best disinfectant. Who needs a US embassy in Jerusalem if it’s a viper’s nest of racism? Kerry needs to clean out this stable.
    If US citizens in Israel could be mobilized to vote just a few months ago in the US election, they can surely be motivated to write to their congressmen and women publicizing and protesting this grotesque abuse of State Department funds and their own tax dollars.

  • Sheila Reiss

    This is appalling, but you did not give us a way to take action. Is there nothing we can do?

  • Thanks Naomi for your needed expose of our State Departments gross neglect of its mission in Israel. We have at the top of our web site a call to move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would not settle all the conflicts, but it would be an assertive statement on the part of the U.S. as to where we believe the capital really is. But I am afraid we will have to wait for a more conciliatory administration for that to happen. Keep up your good work.

    Jim Hutchens

  • Natacha

    I’m so sorry to read this… I was employed at the Visa Section in Tel Aviv and everything is so different there…
    Just a detail seems to be wrong in what you wrote: the Consulate moved to Arnona in 2010 and not in 2009. When Vice Prsident Biden visited here, we met him in East Jerusalem building, since they moved to Arnona later on that year.
    I hope Justice does what it needs to be done and Aron gets compensation for all she had to go through there…