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Moriel Rothman-Zecher Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Sadness Is a White Bird (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Before All the World (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Fight of the Century(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Moriel Rothman-Zecher is an American Author of Israeli descent that writes poems and novels. Moriel is best known for his articles that criticize Israel’s occupation of Palestine.


Moriel Rothman-Zecher was born in Jerusalem, Israel. He grew up in Ohio in the United States but his roots have always been in the Middle East. The son of American immigrants, Moriel discovered Jewish literature and rap music at a very young age and that inserted in him a desire to reconnect with the country of his birth.

The author’s wish came true in the final months of high school.

A graduate of the Middlebury College from where he studied Arabic and Political science, Moriel’s work has appeared in numerous Newspapers, Magazines and literary journals.

Most of Moriel’s works explore the Israel/Palestine conflict, not only its history but the contemporary aspects of the war. Despite being Jewish, Moriel is a strong opponent of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

The opposition to his government’ actions was birthed in 2008. Moriel went to teach English in a small Arabic town in the North of the country. The experience availed him the opportunity to form his first friendships with Palestinians.

It also forced him to question the beliefs and philosophies that had been drilled into him since his birth. After being hosted and taught and interacting with Arabs, it became harder and harder for him to make general statements about Palestinians as a whole.

That year, Israel unleashed an attack against the Gaza Strip that killed over a thousand Palestinians. The author’s Jewish circle was quick to encourage him to stand in the corner of his people and to recognize the dangers the Arabs presented.

But to Moriel Rothman-Zecher, the Palestinians he met in the Gaza Strip were his people, close friends with whom he had talked, shared meals and slept alongside. The experience was disorienting.

Moriel could no longer support the Israeli government’s defense for its atrocities. And once he went back home, the author wasted no time in joining protests against his country’s occupation of Palestine.

He refused to join the army because to do so would be to participate in a system that perpetuated the misery of millions of people.

Moriel gained renown when he wrote a blog post laying out his argument against the actions of Israel’s army. Jewish readers criticized Moriel, accusing him of abdicating his responsibilities to his homeland.

To Moriel’s readers, he was choosing to let others risk their lives to defend a country whose peace and prosperity he enjoyed. They also felt that he was casting judgment upon those individuals who had enlisted to become combat soldiers, a charge Moriel denied.

The author stood his ground. His determination to use his writing abilities to highlight the plight of the Palestinians caught the attention of significant figures in the publishing arena who invited him to contribute his essays to their anthologies.

It wasn’t long before Moriel Rothman-Zecher was writing for publications like The New York Times and Haaretz. It wasn’t until 2018 that the author’s first fiction novel debuted.

After spending so much time using his pen to bring the stories of occupied Palestinians to the world, Moriel admits that he grew bored. The pieces the author wrote were moving and engaging and intellectual, and he recognized their relevance and importance.

But after a while, Moriel realized that he was simply telling the same old stories over and over again. Every piece that Moriel wrote was an account of a tale that an individual had told him followed by his own indignant reactions.

Like most creative individuals, Moriel needed to shake things up. And that is where ‘Sadness is a White Bird’, Moriel’s first novel came into the picture. The book tells the story of a compassionate young man from Israel who joins his country’s military and struggles to reconcile the expectations of his superiors with his own beliefs of right and wrong.

According to Moriel, the story the book tells explores an alternate version of the path his life would have taken if he had joined the Israeli Defense Forces. Despite what he saw during his teaching days in 2008, Moriel did not immediately choose to fight his enlistment into the IDF.

Rather, because of how conflicted he felt, Moriel decided to postpone his draft date. By the time he was 23, Moriel knew he couldn’t join the IDF, not when their ideals conflicted with his own.

Unlike Moriel, Jonathan, the protagonist of ‘Sadness is a White Bird’ ignored his misgivings and joined the army. Moriel tries to put himself and his readers into the shoes of this Jewish soldier.

He attempts to imagine the sorts of conflicts the young man encounters and the difficult decisions he makes.

Moriel tries hard to avoid getting preachy. The story of his debut novel is not only political but also personal. His intention is to show how difficult it can be for two disparate groups of people to understand one another.

+Sadness is a White Bird

Jonathan is in a military prison in Israel when he is first introduced to readers. In just a few days, he will be nineteen. As the young man contemplates his future, readers are taken two years into the past and shown how he ended up in his current position.

Jonathan grew up in Pennsylvania. He was a little older when he made the move back to Israel. At the time, the prospect of fighting in the army to protect his home excited Jonathan.

But as he got older, he found that the idea of monitoring the Palestinians in the occupied territories frightened him. And his concerns grew deeper when he met Nimreen and Laith. Despite their backgrounds, the trio formed a strong bond. They spent many a cold morning wandering the streets, laughing and adventuring. They shared poetry, smoked joints and talked about their history.

With each passing day bringing his draft date closer and closer, Jonathan realized that he would have to find a way to reconcile his love and loyalty to his country with his respect for outsiders.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Moriel Rothman-Zecher

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