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.


“The
Naomi's just-published 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.

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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.


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

Countering the Big Lie

There was a time during one of the so-called intifadas (forgive me for not remembering if it was the first, second, or in-between; all that savagery and murder runs together seamlessly in my head these days) that the Palestinians claimed that the Jews had no connection at all to Jerusalem, or the land of Israel. A statement like that, similar to denying the Holocaust, is so insane it leaves one sputtering in wordless confusion. It’s like being asked to prove you aren’t dead.

Were we not living in a world unspeakably degraded by dumbed-down college programs, propaganda pamphlets parading as newspapers, and the general degradation of moral and intellectual levels in every strata of society all over the world, such lies could be ignored. Given the reality, we ignore it at our peril.

Palestinian big lies seem to be gaining more, not less, steam. According to David Meir Levi in his book History Upside Down, Arafat, a puppet of the KGB, was taught these skills by the Communists: “Using Soviet methods, Arafat reframed attacks on the Jews that had been ongoing since the 1920s motivated by religious obligations of jihad, as secular nationalism motivated by a quest for political self- determination.”

Since then, the Arabs have never attacked the Jews – they have always ‘resisted them.’ General Giap [Ho Chi Minh’s chief strategist] told Arafat that: “the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: ‘Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.’”

Similarly, Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of Romanian intelligence who defected to the West, wrote: “In March 1978, I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. ‘You simply have to keep on pretending that you’ll break with terrorism and that you’ll recognize Israel – over, and over, and over,’ Ceausescu told him for the umpteenth time…”

Another propaganda tool Palestinian leadership learned from the Soviets was “turnspeak,” i.e., disseminating information that is the exact opposite of truth. It was a tool used to great effect by Adolf Hitler to justify his invasion of Czechoslovakia: Whose fault was it that Hitler had to invade? Why, the Czechs of course, who were trying to provoke a regional war by attempting to claim their land as their own.

You will hear the same claims now being made against Israel by its American “friends” for daring to build in its capital, Jerusalem. “Israelis don’t want peace,” the State Department under Muslim-sympathizer Barack Hussein Obama is now claiming, shaking its finger.

Winston, the hero of George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984, is employed changing history by changing old newspaper records to match the new truth as decided by the Party, whose slogan is “He who controls the past, controls the future.” It’s a method Palestinian leadership has perfected.

The Israeli government, and many of its politicians, have never understood this, and in their ignorance have allowed these big lies to gain momentum without any credible challenge. Thankfully, private individuals whose passion for truth and love for Israel burns brightly have tried to take up the slack. One of them is Gloria Z. Greenfield, a documentarian and filmmaker who has dedicated her life to combatting these lies with her passionate, skillful films. Greenfield’s latest documentary “Body and Soul” premiered at the Begin Center on October 20.

Like her previous films, “The Case for Israel, Democracy’s Outpost” and “Unmasked Judeophobia,” this third offering presents the Jewish case to the world through the arguments of eminent men and women scholars, and through photographs and illustrations, trying to explain what even a generation ago would have needed no explanation, i.e., that the Jewish people and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined and have been for more than three thousand years.

While the film may not convince those brainwashed to ignore historical fact, it will certainly help most normal people to understand the connection between the Jewish people, the Torah, and the Land of Israel, all three being fundamental pillars of our faith and our identity as Jews. Some might deride that as preaching to the converted, but what I always tell people who use that expression is that even the most pro-Israel person needs to be shored up and strengthened against the gale winds of hatred and disinformation blowing our way these days.

The panel discussion after the film was in itself a truly memorable event. Exquisitely moderated by the inimitable Melanie Phillips, British author, journalist and incomparable defender of the Jewish State and her people, whose sharp wit and brilliant grasp of the facts have punctured the hot air balloons of many a jihadi sympathizer, the panel consisted of Professor Eugene Kontorovich, expert in International Law, Yoram Hazony, Shalem Center Founder and president of the Herzl Foundation, and Professor Robert Wistrich, holder of the Neuberger Chair of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1989, described by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism as “the leading scholar in the field of antisemitism study.”

According to Dr. Kontorovich, after World War I the old Ottoman Empire, which comprised the Middle East, was divided up into mandates that were to be helped to independence. The Jews were to be given the Mandate of Palestine. Well so far so good, you’ll say, you know this. Yes, but what you don’t know is that the international law hasn’t changed. If the mandate that created Israel is no longer legal (and that mandate included all of the West Bank and Jordan and all of Gaza) then the mandates that created Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen are also invalid.

Unlike our long-held assumption that it was the U.N. vote on the partition that created Israel, it was the League of Nations mandate. The U.N. partition plan merely gave 77% of the Mandate land meant for the Jewish State to Palestinians, creating Jordan. So why was there dancing in the streets of Israel? Kontorovich calls it “Jewish joy,” at being left anything at all.

As for the West Bank, Jordan’s occupation prior to 1967 was illegal under international law which operates under the premise of “stability of borders.” Thus, Kontorovich explained, even though Crimea is filled with ethnic Russians, and was handed over to the Ukraine in a completely arbitrary and dysfunctional way, still International Law decrees that Crimea belongs to the Ukraine now.

Through this looking glass, the claims of Palestinians that the land of Israel should belong to them because of their ethnicity has no validity under International Law. All borders in the present Middle East were created the same way. To claim Israel has no rights to her land, would mean that neither does any other country in the Middle East.

Yoram Hazony made it clear what narrative we Jews must promote to overcome the lies. “Our story must not be defensive …The book connects the land to the people,” he states, reminding us how even the secular Zionist founders of Israel studied the Bible. “AIPAC needs to say this out loud. Birthright needs to say it out loud …Our Bible has been vilified. German academics said it was full of religious nonsense …Our book gave so much light to the world …We need to respect our Book and ourselves, and to stop apologizing for who and what we are.”

Melanie Phillips summed it up: “Palestinians were given a fictional national identity, a national identity invented solely for the purpose of destroying a true one … Many people subscribe to this mad narrative who are not irrational or haters of Jews, but believe in justice. They believe lies, that illegality is law. Many millions have been fed a big lie.”

This lie is two-fold: that the Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel prior to 1948, and that Judaism is unconnected to Israel-Zionism. It will not be easy, but every one of us must do what we can, in every way we can, to counter those lies. Promoting Gloria Greenfield’s film “Body and Soul” is a good start.

 

This column was published in the Jerusalem Post on 1 November, 2104.

9 comments to Countering the Big Lie

  • […] Since then, the Arabs have never attacked the Jews – they have always ‘resisted them.’ General Giap [Ho Chi Minh’s chief strategist] told Arafat that: “the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: ‘Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.’” Read more […]

  • Michael Perloff

    For the better understanding of the big picture, watch the 3 stages of Islam :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hUVVlgEqxY

    Things make more sense after watching it. I want it to be fundamentally flawed because of the serious implications if it’s true but can’t find any errors. Anyone have input?

  • Lenore Roberts

    Dear Naomi,
    Thank you for an excellent article. Thought you’d enjoy this …
    “An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently at the UN and made the world community smile.
    A representative from Israel began: :Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Moses. When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, ‘what a good opportunity to have a bath!’ He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them.
    “The Palestinian representative jumped up furiously and shouted ” What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren’t there then.”
    The Israeli representative smiled and said “And now that I have made that clear, I will begin my speech.”

  • NuritG

    Promote the movie Beneath the helmet too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh0UX_6C8fM
    Read: http://newsblaze.com/story/20141102004144nurg.nb/topstory.html

    People have to understand more about Israel’s struggles

  • Walter Sandelar

    “The world recognizes the rights of Native People to their ancestral land in all cases EXCEPT that of the Jews.”

    Ask native American Indians if they believe that statement to be true. Perhaps it is America’s problem with their own natives that gives rise to its poor performance on Israel – that land’s true natives being the Jews – and its willingness to overlook the natives and propose that parts of Israel be given to the group calling itself Palestinians. Pres. Obama has performed poorly when it comes to Israel policy, but prior presidents and their Secretaries of State (think James Baker) also left a lot to be desired.

  • Paul Ross

    The world recognizes the rights of Native People to their ancestral land in all cases EXCEPT that of the Jews. In part it stems from the deep seated Antisemitism that resides throughout much of the European world, and in part because the we Jews have not made the case about our being the Native People of that land. The Arab occupiers are desperately trying to destroy any and all archaeological evidence of our ancestors in that land. And I must say, that the government of Israel has been less than vigorous in attempting to stop that destruction. In any other nation or land, the UN would have demanded that the destruction be stopped but in the land of Israel,the UN is silent. We need to vigorously assert our rights in all of the land of Israel including Judea and Samaria the historic heartland of the Jewish people. If we do not assert our rightful rights, who will do it for us?

  • Dear Naomi, with your skill as a writer you can be a huge help to Israel. your books are widely read abroad. Perhaps you can turn this article into a novel. Goebbels said that the bigger the lie the more it is believed. This explains the success of the Arab lies. Respectfully, Esther Whitmore.

  • Will Gloria Greenfield’s film “Body and Soul” be playing anywhere outside of Israel? Why isn’t the Israeli government also trying to stop this Arab propaganda?

  • Obama’s Iran Plan Makes Tuesday’s Vote A Critical Global Event!

    If Obama’s plan to make a deal with Iran in his 2nd-term is true, then the mid-term election on Tuesday takes on even greater significance in terms of the safety of the world!

    Read more at The Political Commentator here: http://politicsandfinance.blogspot.com/2014/10/obamas-iran-plan-makes-tuesdays-mid.html

    And Get Your Friends, Family and Co-Workers Out As Well Because We Have All Learned The Hard Way That Elections Have Consequences!