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.

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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.

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.


Dupes, Dummies and Useful Idiots

Instead of cowering and bending under the onslaught of bad publicity, it would have been refreshing to see someone in our government standing up to shield our soldier, instead of flinging rocks and mud at his good name along with our enemies.

The recent YouTube video showing Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, deputy commander of the Beka’a Brigade, striking an aggressive ISM foreign national in the mouth with the clip of his rifle, has made waves all over the world. As usual, as in the Mohammed al-Dura incident, the pictures, taken out of context and played without explanation, are hard for those who love Israel to combat. After all, no one wants to attempt to justify the killing of a child (even though in the al-Dura case, it was staged and completely false) or the violent attack on a handsome blond Danish “peace activist.”

Left out of the 60-second video, of course, are the two hours of physical attacks and provocations which preceded the event.

According to Eisner, who has been condemned for not using the water cannon and gas grenades at his disposal, “There was no reason for me to fire a gas grenade as there had been no violence in the course of two hours of dialogue… I decided it would be better to let them calm down,” he told Ynet’s Yoav Zitun.

But then, to his surprise, the 60 activists were suddenly joined by two busloads of ISM members who attempted to block Road 90, a major artery filled with holidaymakers heading towards the popular nature trails in the northern part of the country. At that point, protesters began attacking soldiers, leaving Eisner with a broken finger and injuries that required a cast on his hand. Taken by surprise, he used his weapon to deflect the attack. The ISM members, Eisner said, “risked my life and the lives of many others.” Still, the officer, highly regarded for his integrity, morality and professionalism by his fellow soldiers, admitted, “I should not have flung my weapon like that.”

Unfortunately, 60 seconds is all the “flytilla” organizers needed to turn their failed propaganda stunt into another highly viewed media event blackening the face of Israel.

When I first looked into this, what interested me was who these young people are who are willing to drop everything, hop onto a plane and fly to a country they have no connection with to attack IDF soldiers and risk Israeli lives on the roads. After all, they looked normal, like young people everywhere, filled with the same eager idealism that fuels the Occupy Wall Streeters and DCers, and Arab Springers. What is it that motivates them? What are they trying to accomplish? And so I did a little check on the organizers of the “Welcome to Palestine Campaign.”

If you go to their websites, you would think that you had discovered a jewel of moral courage amid the garbage of modern life.

Take the website of Friends of Freedom and Justice, which describes Bil’in as “a small peaceful village surrounded by hills and valleys… struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its olive trees, its resources. People of Bi’lin are noted for their simplicity, hospitality and good nature.”

You’d never know that the tranquil little village and its “aw shucks” bucolic residents have been involved in four years of violent protests against the security fence built to keep terrorists out of Israel. Or, as one IDF soldier told The Israel National News (Arutz Sheva), “One villager told me he is paid several hundred shekels each time he demonstrates. It’s good business for them.”

Nor would you imagine that even when their protests succeeded and the Supreme Court ordered the fence torn down and relocated, the riots only increased in violence.

Another sponsor of the campaign was the Al-Rowad Cultural and Theater Training Center, described on its website as “an independent center for artistic, cultural and theatre training which provides a ‘safe’ and healthy environment to help Palestinian children creatively discharge stress in the war-time conditions in which they live.”

Who could be against that? Unfortunately, the founder of the center, Dr. Zoughbi Zoughbi, is a long-time member of Fatah, and his Wi’am Center for Conflict Resolution is a signatory to the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

The Al-Awda Center in Beit Sahour, another campaign organizer, describes itself as “a broad-based, non-partisan, democratic, and charitable organization of grassroots activists and students committed to comprehensive public education on the rights of all Palestinian refugees….”

However, according to the Anti-Defamation League, Al-Awda – The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, is actually a grassroots organization that opposes Israel’s right to exist, is responsible for coordinating numerous rallies, demonstrations and events to condemn Israel and its policies.

The village of Beit Sahour, known for harboring dozens of Bethlehem-area gunmen, including senior Hamas, Tanzim, and Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorists, was infamously involved in the violent siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002, imprisoning 49 clergy and 45 unarmed civilians. In 2011, a terrorist cell was discovered in the village and its members put on trial for attempted murder, production of weapons and weapons trade, military training, throwing Molotov cocktails, attacking a Border Police vehicle…  Shall I go on, oh peaceful activists?

Of course, the part played by these organizations in the Welcome to Palestine provocation is minor compared to that of the International Solidarity Movement. So brush your golden locks out of your ears and eyes, Mr. starry-eyed Danish ISM activist, and listen up.

Calling itself a “non-violent human rights organization that opposes terrorism and supports a two-state solution,” ISM openly incites violence and supports “armed struggle” against Israeli “occupation,” defined by ISM spokesman Raphael Cohen in 2003 as “The Zionist presence in Palestine.”

Cohen admitted hosting terrorists Asif Mohammad Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, British citizens who entered Israel as “peace activists,” participated in ISM activities, then carried out a suicide bombing in a popular night spot next to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.

On March 27, 2003, Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was found with a handgun hiding in ISM offices in Jenin. Most famously, ISM’s Rachel Corrie, a hate-filled ISM activist accidentally killed while protecting a house being used for terrorist arms smuggling, has been made into a martyr, like the hapless Dane who didn’t succeed in getting himself killed, just smacked.

Not to worry, world, the Dane says he’s fine. Which is more than we can say for Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, who on top of his physical injuries has also been suspended from his duties in protecting our lives. Smart move, IDF! As I looked over the video with Eisner, it struck me how very non-violent most of it is, the IDF treating protesters with dignity and respect, in clear contrast to other recent videos posted on YouTube showing similar protests between young activists and security forces. Just look at the March 31 protest in Toronto, in which protesters are repeatedly and savagely clubbed, or the squashing of the Valencia protest in Spain in February, broken up with batons, rubber bullets and tear gas, or even the recent Occupy Protest on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge.

But people won’t compare and contrast, will they? It’s hard to fight successful and clever propaganda. World history is filled with the sad evidence of young, educated, idealistic people who sided passionately with Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Ché. There is no end to dupes, dummies and useful idiots who support terror and war in the name of peace and freedom. No end. Too bad in the heat of the moment Eisner wound up allowing himself to become a propaganda tool, used to convince the gullible and ignorant all over the world, and unfortunately in the Israeli leadership itself, that the provocateurs were the victims.

Instead of cowering and bending under the onslaught of bad publicity, it would have been refreshing to see someone in our government standing up to shield our soldier, instead of flinging rocks and mud at his good name along with our enemies.


This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post on 6 April, 2012



The article above, in which I defend the embattled officer who appeared on a widely publicized Palestinian video as he attacked a Danish ISM militant, appeared in the Jerusalem Post this Friday.  I was not alone in decrying the Israeli cave-in to media pressure to punish this officer without first checking the facts carefully.  Even Ha’aretz, that Leftist bulwark, carried an article by Israel Harel who wrote “Eisner was offered up as a sacrificial lamb and dismissed from his post without any substantial protest that an officer on duty had been hung out to dry.” (For entire Ha’aretz article, go to

The next day, on Shabbat, I took a walk in Jerusalem and who should I meet by Lt. Colonel Shalom Eisner himself!  He was walking with his pretty young wife and small children, his broken finger still in a cast.  I had the rare privilege of approaching Lt. Col. Eisner and expressing to him personally my deep regret over the unjust way he had been treated, and my personal support and admiration. I let him know that my feelings were widely shared. “May God bless you” I told them.  He and his wife smiled and thanked me.  If after reading both articles, you would also like to offer him your support, please go to <> and tell the IDF to reconsider their disgraceful dismissal of this dedicated officer on the altar of Public Relations.

8 comments to Dupes, Dummies and Useful Idiots

  • Shira

    Naomi you are an example of just what is wrong with the government of Israel… They haven’t offered you the position of Spokeswoman! I guess someone who actually speaks English and loves Eretz Yisrael is just too much to ask for…

  • Victor Gordon

    If there had been some way of preventing this incident before it happened, fine – but that requires the gift of hindsight. But Israel has the habit of displaying weakness and cowering AFTER events take place (e.g. al Dura)and scrambling to regain some credibility with world opinion with the erronious and naive thought that in bowing and scraping we will win some sympathy and respect. It never works and never will. We are left looking wimpish and divided and, worst of all, as though we have done something wrong in defending ourselves quite justifiably. Sacrificing Eisner will not help us in the least – we will gain nothing in return. Not a word of admiration, understanding, gratitude nor respect. The gain is not worth the loss. If I were Eisner I would probably have done the same. I wonder how those who dismissed hi would have reacted under similar circumstances. STOP SAYING SORRY FOR DEFENDING YOURSELF!! No one else does.

  • A point of clarification:

    As best as I understand, Lt. Col. Eisner has neither been drummed out of the army nor demoted, merely relieved of his command pending further investigation.

    At least in the military, that makes a HUGE difference.

    Please understand this is not criticism: I defer to nobody in my utter contempt for the Islamofascist Stooges Movement (ISM) and the Bull, Deceit and Slander (BDS) campaign. But from the reports in the media, people unfamiliar with things military might be forgiven for concluding Lt. Col. Eisner has been cashiered — and I do not believe this to be the case. Nor should such a thing happen without a full and thorough investigation and trial.

    • Rabbi Fleishig

      Lt. Col. Eisner was given a full trial in a media-orchestrated kangaroo court. In the starry-eyed lunatic left worldview, this is as good as it gets for traitors to the received wisdom.

  • Even in a relatively free society such as the United States, when so-called peaceful demonstrations get out of hand and engage in such activities as blocking access to thoroughfares the demonstrators are forcefully dispersed. You ask, Shiela, why the bicycles were thrown into the roadside ditch. They were blocking a public road and their requested removal was ignored. What one does in the face of aggression towards him or herself is a reaction that you do not know until you are confronted with the situation. Having served in Vietnam I did not know how I would react when faced with such situations.

    The problem here is we are unfairly dealing with the reaction to the situation not the causative action. The demonstration was anything but peaceful. It was provocative and in your face. I challenge the intelligence of anyone who openly taunts and is aggressive towards a soldier with a weapon.

  • sheila kotkin


    If what you saw on the film is correct then I agree with you. But what about the soldiers throwing all the bikes in the gully next to the road. And quite frankly nothing justifes hitting an albeit obnoxious Dane thinner and younger than him,in the mouth with the butt of a rifle. No other soldier reacted like Eisner. Why?

    • Rabbi Fleishig

      Since these were bikes that the “peaceful protestors” had thrown at the soldiers, I don’t think that the soldiers did anything wrong in damaging the “peaceful” bikes. If you really are opposed to soldiers reacting violently to “peaceful” terrorist fanboys, then why don’t you write a letter to President Assad of Syria and ask him to practice non-violence?

  • I have no sympathy at all for any of these ISM people. These are the same type of people who went online, and made all kinds of excuses and even justifications for the brutal murders of Israeli children like the Fogel children,yet if a fly dies in an Arab town in the West Bank they blame it on Israel,so even if this officer overstepped his boundaries and did something violent. I still have no sympathy whatsoever for this terrorist supporter.