Gilead is Here Passover 2023
Last night we celebrated Passover.
We got stuck in traffic jams, ate way too much, met distant relatives, and fully understood why we never stay in touch with them.
But Passover is also a celebration of the end of the Jewish people's time as slaves and the beginning of their lives as free people in their own country.
On this day, when we celebrate freedom, I cannot write to you and pretend that all is as usual.
In the last couple of months, our far-right government has been pushing forward legislation that will lead Israel to become a theocratic dictatorship (think Iran). Two of the parties that are now in the coalition don’t even allow women to be members of parliament, and if it were up to them, they wouldn't allow us to vote, either.
My book series is called Women of Tel Aviv, and in my books, I write about the everyday lives of the women of my city who go to work, eat, love, and make love.
I try to emulate the famous words of Jane Austen:
“The little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush as produces little effect after much labour.”
Yet, creating peacefully in my small corner of the world is only possible if a larger framework of freedom is firmly in place.
What would happen to my books, which depict explicit sex, kinks, and birth control, if Israel were to become a corrupt theocracy?
Would I be allowed to continue writing the way I write? Would they ban my books?
(I have to admit I'm of two minds, since being banned in Israel will make for great PR. It would surely lead to more sales in the rest of the world).
Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, who has led the UN committee on the elimination of forms of discrimination against women, spoke last month in her speech demonstrating in Jerusalem in front of the Knesset (the parliament):
“Women in Israel are facing the biggest threat to their status, to their rights and to the rights of their daughters, since the founding of the state (of Israel).”
Therefore, women are at the forefront of the protest, and it is my beloved city of Tel Aviv that has become the center of the resistance to this vile government.
We use powerful images, drawing a literal red line. Women march silently, dressed in screaming red gowns. We do not want to become walking wombs, nothing more than a receptacle for the masters' semen, as the handmaids have in Margaret Atwood's story.
What else is there to do in the face of a determined fascist government?
As for me, I go to protests (check me out below wearing a yellow sticker).
I donate money to the women’s movements that organize the protests.
I continue to write my fluffy, inconsequential, smut-filled books, because having a voice and writing what I want, however I want to, is the true definition of freedom.