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.

Categories

The Truth About Israeli “Settlements”

I thank my good friend and colleague Frieda Horwitz for allowing me to send out exclusively to my readers her explosive research on the truth about Israeli settlements and the false narrative singling out the “settlement enterprise” as the main obstacle for peace in the Middle East. You will be much wiser after you read this!

 

The Truth About Israeli “Settlements”

by Frieda.R.F. Horwitz (friedarf@gmail.com)

 

Security Council Resolution 2334 has singled out Israeli communities built after 1967 in the disputed territories as “the settlement enterprise,” and referred to it as the central obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Not the disintegration of Tunisia and Libya nor the turmoil in Egypt and Iraq, nor continual murderous incitement of the Palestinian Authority, not the violent organized anti-Israel bias of the European Left or even the jihad/genocide activity of the Islamic State forces.

No, the violence and lack of peace in the Middle East is solely due to the desire of Jewish Israelis to return to their historic homeland in the disputed territories. Evidently international amnesia has occurred so lands acquired by Israel in 1967 and referred to as “disputed territories” in UN Resolution 242 are now termed “occupied” in UN Resolution 2334. Under international law, the disputed territories that were under Jordanian jurisdiction from 1948 until 1967, and were never sovereign territory of any state since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, cannot therefore be considered “occupied”. Those lands were never part of any sovereign state post 1918; Jordan did not annex those lands post 1948, nor was citizenship granted to Arabs who fled there after the fighting in the 1948 War.

Simply put, there is no other disputed territory in the world that has never known independent sovereignty that is known internationally as “occupied*” – except land currently under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. Gershon Baskin stated earlier this year that the most difficult issue
between Israelis and Palestinians is one of narrative. But narrative unfortunately no longer has anything to do with facts – only personal narrative as Michel Foucault theorized, revolutionizing history when he stated there were no facts, but only personal narrative.

But to cite just one horrific example of false narrative, the Palestinian Authority called 29 year old American veteran Taylor Force an Israeli settler! Despite the fact that the U.S. citizen killed in the March 2016 terrorist attack in Jaffa was identified as an American student tourist, he was called a settler to justify his murder! That is, anyone denoted a settler can be justifiably murdered by virtue of the location of his residence. And there was no uproar in the European press or by the Obama administration – because the Palestinian narrative about settlers and occupation is accepted as true fact, not opinion.

Another completely false narrative was the foundation for the UNESCO Executive Board vote on April 28 2016 and again in 2017. That vote denies any relationship with Jews or Judaism to the Temple Mount, calling it only by the Islamic term “Haram al-Sharif”. The resolution denies the validity of the texts in the Bible, New Testament and Koran. Indeed, the Koran itself explicitly notes the Jewish connection on the temple Mount and grants rights to the Jewish people in the Holy Land.

However, to cite US Senator Daniel Moynihan, “everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.” The current garbled Palestinian narrative about occupation is opinion, not fact. There was no Palestinian entity before 1948. Just as territories of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires in Europe were subdivided into separate states, so too were Ottoman Empire territories divided in the Middle East region. Transferred to the control of the British Mandate in 1918, these lands were subsequently divided by the United Nations into three parts: 67% of Palestinian Mandate territory east of the Jordan River became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Zionist State of Israel was given 18% of the British Palestinian Mandate, and rest reserved for Arab residents who had come to this area pre-1948.

But the UN Security Council Res. 2334 categorically states, that the UN “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to occupied Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” Thus the demand is on Israel to return to the 1949 armistice lines which were never considered a recognized border.






The European Union and the USA Obama administration called all Jewish communities built after 1967 “illegal settlements on occupied lands”, including neighborhoods in post-1967 Jerusalem. But according to the Turkish census of 1875, Jews already then constituted a majority of the population of Jerusalem; by 1905 they comprised two-thirds of its residents – a reality that remained true until 1949. But no distinction was made in this UN Resolution for the ancient Jewish community in Jerusalem’s Old City which has had an overwhelming majority of Jewish residents for centuries. Indeed, Jewish Old City homes were illegally occupied by Hebron Arab families in 1949 who moved in as squatters – those Moslem Arab individuals should be termed “illegal settlers” by the international definition just quoted – not the Jewish community reconstituted in 1967 that under no definition can be called “occupiers”.

Resolution 2334 made no distinction for the Silwan neighborhood established by Yemenite Jews in 1885, called Shiloach. Violently expelledby the British in the 1930’s due to Arab violence, their homes are now being returned to Jews as well as the ancient synagogue located there. Nor did the Resolution distinguish between the lands of the N’vei Yaakov community, empty lands bought by American Mizrachi Women in 1924.

Never mind that the vacant land now known as Gilo was purchased before World War I by a group of young Jewish lawyers, including Dov Yosef (later one of David Ben Gurion’s advisors). When the land was taken back from the Jordanians in 1967, it was returned to its owners. Suddenly Gilo, an integral part of Jerusalem proper for almost one hundred years, is considered a Jewish settlement on occupied land. This resolution is clearly based on distorted short-sided narrative – neither based on fact nor any historical reality.

If we turn to the rest of the Palestinian Mandate, we can use the statistics of the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1910 that gives the population figure that year as 60,000, of whom 40,000 were Jews. Jewish land purchases were made from absentee owners in the Jezreel Valley, which in 1897 belonged to two people, one being the Turkish Sultan.

Statistics published in the Palestine Royal Commission Report (p. 279) indicate a remarkable phenomenon: Palestine, heretofore an area of Arab emigration, only became a focus of Arab immigration after World War I due to Jewish development that created attractive new work opportunities. The Report has no precise totals on Arab immigration figures between the two World Wars, but estimates vary between 60,000 and 100,000. (I am indebted to the Gatestone Institute for this information.)

Even Gaza, never a primary location for Zionist settlement, had Jewish communities for centuries, and at least two small longstanding Jewish communities, Gaza City and Kfar Darom, established during the British mandate (1917-1948) period and re-established after 1967. Both Jews and Arabs, evacuated from Gaza by the Ottoman army during WWI, returned afterwards. Jewish residents left only in 1949 – doesn’t that make all Arab residents who settled on Kfar Darom land “illegal settlers?”

Altogether, the non-Jewish element in Palestine’s population (not including Bedouin) expanded between 1922 and 1929 by more than 75 per cent. Those Arabs should be considered “illegal settlers” by virtue of the same rules being applied to Jewish Israelis. Thus, very few so-called Palestinian Arabs have a long historical tie to this land, except in their politicized false narrative.

During World War II, the Arab population continued to increase as attested by UNRWA Review Information Paper No. 6 (September 1962) which states that considerable movement of people is known to have occurred, particularly during the Second World War. While Arab population in predominantly Arab towns rose only slightly (if at all) between the two World Wars, the Arab population in Jewish cities in Palestine shot up at this time, far beyond the rate of natural increase: Jerusalem reported an increase of 97 per cent; Jaffa had an increase of 134 per cent; and Haifa’s Arab population explosion increased 216 per cent.

So how did 20,000 Arab residents in 1910 explode into supposed 600,000 Arab refugees in 1948? What distorted statistics are being used to explain this unrealistic figure that has multiplied into third and fourth generation refugees in order to justify a huge inflated UNWRA budget? No other refugees in the world have ever been maintained into the third and fourth generation – certainly not those supported by the UN nor any other organization.

Indeed, in 1967, 200,000 Jews and 66,000 Arabs lived in Jerusalem. In 2016, Jerusalem had 870,000 residents, of whom 37% are Arab. How many Moslem Arabs in Jerusalem could be called illegal settlers, using the terms applied to Jewish individuals, having arrived after 1967? Is every community a settlement?

Typically defined as a place hitherto un-inhabited where a new community is located, it is sometimes defined as a community constructed on land to which occupants have no legal claim.

“Settler or occupied land” needs to be applied to everyone regardless of race or religion, or to no one – as it has only become a biased racist discriminatory term harming the prospects of a Middle East negotiated peace. Only used by Palestinian Arabs to sanction murders of the Schijveschurrder, Hatuel and Fogel families, or children like Kobi Mandel and Yosef Ishran and Shalhevet Pass, it has become a travesty and needs to be wiped from civilized dialogue.

 

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