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City of Refuge

Yitzhak Ben-Ner
In City of Refuge, Yitzhak Ben-Ner paints a barbed, cruel portrait of Israeli society, which is threatened by some vague catastrophe. The novel consists of seven fascinating monologues, each one the story of an individual living in Tel Aviv, the city of refuge alluded to in the title. These are lonely people with bleak lives, suffering from neglect and from insatiable longing. Mali is a cancer-afflicted man-hunter who takes sadistic pleasure in telling all her sex partners that she is HIV-positive. Eitan Shefi, a former senior security man, is involved in a strange relationship with a single mother. Ruta is an ex-Palmachnik, a coarse and sharp-tongued woman who named her numerous offspring – fathered by both Jews and Arabs – after birds. Leshchinsky is a homeless boy who immigrated from the former Soviet Union and is trying to survive in the city streets and be accepted into Israeli society. Ziva is a retired teacher whose husband, a former state prosecutor, suffers from Alzheimer`s; she is forced to confront a criminal in search of revenge. Yehudai paints graffiti in the city streets and seeks recognition. Finally, Michaela, a singer longing for a child, is forced to wage a battle against the harassment of a crude and repulsive neighbor. All these characters engender aggression, evil and alienation and speak to the reader in their "true" voices. Their monologues contain implied criticism of the disintegrating social and cultural milieu of contemporary Israel, which has lost its sense of togetherness and forfeited the ideals on which it was founded. This is a novel about the present, but it makes a pessimistic statement about the future.

English translation available (for publishers only)

Ben-Ner City of Refuge Heb
Title City of Refuge
Author’s Last Name Ben-Ner
Author's First Name Yitzhak
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2000
No. Pages 409 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ir Miklat
Representation Represented by ITHL


Congratulations to Barabara Harshav for the 2018 PEN Medal for Translation!
The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
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The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: Sunday, April 29, 2018 until Saturday, May 5, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
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Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
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Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
English edition of Yitzchak Mayer's amazing "Silent Letter" is about to come out with Mosaic Press. Learn more about the author's incredible life story on his brand new website.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!