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Violence and Israel: Yael Hedaya Responds

Violence and Israel: Yael Hedaya Responds

When HBO’s third season of "In Treatment" premiered this week, one story line was that it lost its main writer, the Israeli novelist Yael Hedaya. (To fans of the show, don’t worry: Jhumpa Lahiri is her replacement.) The HBO version was really an adaptation, nearly verbatim, of the Israeli hit series Bi’Tipul, where Hedaya wrote some of the best shows. Now in her mid-40s and still living in Israel, Hedaya is releasing her third novel in English translation this month, "Eden."

The novel follows the scleroitc moral corruption a kibbutz, abetted by the steady encroachment of capitalism and gossamer liberal idealism, gutted of its soul. Zeek magazine excerpts the novel this month, and New York Magazine features an interview with Hedaya this week. Perhaps the most striking thing to come out of her conversation with the latter is that her book, while dealing with Palestinians, is mostly about Israel’s internal demise. Arabs have nothing to do with, she says.

She tells the magazine: "Israel is going to the dogs. It used to be external enemies, and we used to be an okay nation with values. But something is happening, which is very much like what’s happening in the rest of the Western world. It’s not safe to live here, and not just because of the terror and bombs going off on buses, but because the people are becoming more violent, notwithstanding being Jewish or Arab."

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