Thursday, January 27, 2022

Please rescue ‘The Girl from Oslo’!

Two young Israelis and their Norwegian friend are on their way home from a holiday on the beaches of Sinai when they are kidnapped by Daesh terrorists. Held captive in mountain caves and Bedouin encampments, they are threatened with death unless 12 Islamic State members are released from prison, including a terrorist leader being held in Norway.

This is the beginning of the Netflix series ‘The Girl from Oslo’ (2021), created by Kyrre Holm Johannessen and Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz. Presented as the next big Israeli dramatic thriller to hit the streaming screens, the series is as much of a need of a rescue as the captives held in Sinai.

The ominous score; the panoramic scenes of Jerusalem from above; and a multitude of scowls, secrets, and scandals give the series the air of a soap opera. Ten episodes are a bit much. The terrorists should have been killed and the prisoners released much sooner.

The series stars Andrea Berntzen as the kidnapped red-cheeked Norwegian girl, Pia; Anneke von der Lippe as the mother who would do anything, even reveal her innermost secrets, to get her daughter’s release; and Amos Tamam as the hapless Israeli Minister of Intelligence, who seemingly can’t do anything right.

Outstanding performances are delivered by Raida Adon, as the mother’s Palestinian friend; and Rotem Abuhab, as the minister’s wife. Jameel Khoury is impressive as a wheelchair-bound Hamas commander, but ‘Fauda’ costar Shadi Mar'i is completely wasted in his role as a terrorist-in-training.

Many things are hard to believe in the series. All that the best Israeli intelligence officers can do on the captives’ behalf is stand motionless as their drones follow them from above. The Minister of Intelligence seems to be the only government official concerned with the incident. There is no explanation for relentless, seemingly unprovoked Israeli bombing of Gaza. And, the Egyptians don’t seem to be involved in what is happening in their territory.

Still, there is one reason to watch ‘The Girl from Oslo’, and that is the stunning desert landscapes where much of the action takes place. Although portrayed as Sinai, the series was actually filmed in the Negev and the Arava, and in Timna in particular. Israel’s southern regions have never before been shown so beautifully on the screen.

Netflix spends billions of dollars on content. One can only hope that the next Israeli thriller to stream on the service will be a bit more believable than ‘The Girl from Oslo’.

Originally posted on The Times of Israel.

Friday, January 21, 2022

My Books On Sale!

For a limited time only, you can purchase all three of my books for just $0.99 (
£0.99 in the UK).

This is your chance to read The Virtual Kibbutz, Valley of Thracians, and The Burgas Affair at a discounted price!

Purchase The Virtual Kibbutz here.

Purchase Valley of Thracians here.

Purchase The Burgas Affair here.


Friday, January 7, 2022

"The Tiger" - short story

“There’s a tiger in the playground!”

“That’s nice, Shmuel.”

“No really, Imma. It was coming toward me, but I didn’t run. I wasn’t scared at all!”

“That sounds very exciting! You’re so brave! Now, go wash up and call your brothers. It’s almost time for Havdalah.”

The tiger was like an enormous cat wearing a mask. A colorful Purim mask. Amber eyes stared at him as the large animal swayed back and forth with feline grace, its tail whisking in its wake. Its ears stood at attention; its paws were huge. Shmuel couldn’t see, but he could imagine, the beast’s razor-sharp teeth, and the thin white whiskers under its triangular pink nose. Such a pretty face!

Read the rest of the story on JewTh!nk

Photo by A G on Unsplash

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 - My Writing Year in Review

2021, for me, was a year of short stories. Writing them and submitting them. The seven stories that were published online in 2021 are listed below. Twelve of my stories are included in Rakiya, my collection of short stories set in Bulgaria. That manuscript is now on submission with literary agents and independent publishers.

My main success of 2021 was having Rakiya selected as a finalist in the Eyelands Book Awards 2021 - an international contest for published/unpublished books based in Greece. While the collection did not win the contest, it is an honor that it made the shortlist.

I continued my habit of sitting in the Aroma coffee shop in the early morning, writing on my laptop before starting my work day. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I work most of the week remotely from home, so the number of times I came to Tel Aviv to sit in Aroma was limited. A good portion of my writing time was spent researching online literary journals and publishers suitable for my submissions.

Some writers keep track of statistics – how many stories they submitted and how many were accepted for publication. So, here are mine. In 2021, I made 122 short story submissions (many of them simultaneous submissions of the same story). 20 stories were withdrawn (having been accepted elsewhere); 78 story submissions were rejected; and 6 stories were accepted for publication.

As 2022 begins, a number of my short stories are ‘on submission’ and I am hopeful that one day soon they will be published. Hopefully there will be positive responses to my submission of Rakiya as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read my stories and share my writing career!


The Muse - 

Lockdown - Literary Yard           

Sozopol - The Write Launch

Three Women in Sofia - Literary Yard

Applesauce - Bright Flash Literary Review

Nocturnal Visitors - Across the Margin

The Magician - Mad Swirl

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash