An Israeli-American Author Delivers a Pitch-Perfect Academic Satire

Maya Arad’s latest trio of novellas, recently published in English translation as The Hebrew Teacher, all concern Israelis who, like herself, live in the United States. In her review, Allegra Goodman finds them all rewarding, but the best is a biting academic satire that features a professor of Jewish literature who hates the Jews:

The first time I laughed out loud was on page eleven, when Ilana Goldstein, the titular Hebrew teacher, . . . meets the newly minted professor of Hebrew and Jewish literature at her midwestern university. Yoad Bergman-Harari . . . had “been born Yoad Harari, but during his university studies he’d added on his father’s original name, Bergman.” In her innocence, Ilana asks why. “‘To negate the negation of the diaspora,’ he replied, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.”

Arad is pitch perfect as she captures Yoad’s arrogance, his interest in problematizing literature rather than reading or teaching it, and his determination to distance himself from Jewish literature and culture in particular. Of course, the more unlikeable Yoad seems, the more attractive he becomes to Ilana’s chair. How he will keep Yoad here is his main concern.

Valiantly, Ilana carries on with her Israel independence celebration in the face of activists with a Palestine Liberation Organization flag and signs declaring “Remember Nakba Day” and “Support Palestine.” In protests that now seem almost quaint, campus activists craft a BDS petition signed by faculty, including Yoad, and published in the campus paper.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Academia, American Jewish literature, Hebrew literature

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation