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The Third

Yishai Sarid


The startling events in this novel take place in the near future, and are documented by Jonathan, a Jewish prince imprisoned in the citadel in Jaffa after the destruction of Israel by its enemies.

Some twenty years earlier, Tel Aviv and other coastal cities were destroyed in a nuclear attack, and in its wake Yeho’az, a charismatic junior officer, seized control of the armed forces, expelled all non-Jews and founded the Kingdom of Judah. Crowned king, he built the Third Temple in Jerusalem, with sacrificial rites - now the central feature of national life - conducted as in Biblical times. Yeho’az is assisted by his sons: David, his strong and handsome firstborn, is in charge of the military; hedonistic Yo’el is responsible for Temple worship, and his youngest, loyal and trusting Jonathan, manages the Temple calendar.

Jonathan has been physically handicapped since childhood, following a terror attack intended to kill his father. Now, however, he learns that his father ran away from the attackers, leaving him behind. His father’s image is further tarnished during the critical weeks of a military campaign outside the kingdom’s borders. The war gets tougher, more and more soldiers are killed. David is critically wounded, Yo’el flees the country with his family, and famine spreads through the land. But Yeho’az, who has delusions of grandeur, refuses to surrender and in an appalling moment, prepares to sacrifice his infant son - born to his second wife - in order to appease the deity. And then, the kingdom falls…

A courageous, disconcerting and powerful novel, a dark futuristic allegory, a warning sign for the present.


Winner of the 2016 BERNSTEIN PRIZE for young Hebrew writers

Yishai Sarid has emerged as a polished storyteller whose writing is lucid, almost transparent, and poetic even though he consciously avoids any poetic pretence … The Third is well written, precise and sharp, and its dialogue with… Hebrew literature as well as speculative literature is deep and fertile.

The Bernstein Prize Committee

Apart from this simply being a good book, Sarid’s dystopia has deep and strong foundations in today’s reality, and that makes it into something valuable.

One of the most compelling novels written here in recent times. In a measured and easily digested manner, it dispenses a rich linguistic, cultural and narrative abundance … From the artistic aspect and from the experiential aspect, The Third is highly recommended … The story is convincing, and the details that fill it are credible.

Tsur Ehrlich, Makor Rishon

The most apocalyptic, futuristic, historical and perhaps also most realistic novel published in Israel in recent years … Sarid holds the reader in thrall … Sarid assembles the story’s mosaic with infinite patience and precision, injecting literary glue into the crevices created between the stones. The small details spawn deep meanings, layers of history, politics, relations between people, that take shape gradually and burrow their way deep into the reader’s psyche … Sarid succeeds in packing his short novel with a multitude of themes, conflicts, metaphors and allegoriesThe Third is a work that will generate extensive and deep literary, theological, cultural and political discussion. It is a work that continues to hold the reader in its grip long after he or she finishes it.

Maya Guez, Haaretz

Sarid has done in-depth research. He is sensitive to the subtleties of the contemporary Israeli imbroglio … The prose is articulate and professional, the novel’s tempo is very good, and the dystopian vision takes on substance and credibility. 

Arik Glasner,


Written with the great skill that was evident in the writer’s previous two books. Sarid’s style of writing is very flowing … He keeps the reader engrossed.

Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom

An outstanding book … A treasure trove of knowledge, well built and beautifully written

Neri Livneh, Haaretz

An outstanding book, written with love.
Rino Tzror, IDF Radio 

A credible work, one that captures reality ... What makes The Third engrossing from the literary point of view is Sarid’s commitment to the lunacy he is describing … Yishai Sarid demonstrates to the reader the extent to which this lunacy is part of the presen … This was a sad and painful realization, but the fact that Sarid managed to lead me to it says a great deal about his talent and about his book.    

Yiftach Ashkenazy, Mako

This is a compelling read, if only because it constantly plays out around the border between what is totally imaginary and what may well already occur in a few years time … The book is in essence an allegory of fundamentalism … Highly recommended.  

Tomer Persico, Literary Blog

The apocalyptic vision depicted in the book is read with bated breath. At times it is reminiscent of the British TV series “Black Mirror” … Reading the book is like staring into a very scary mirror and not being able to look away, not being able to stop reading, not being able to put the book down … Although it is futuristic and fictional, the novel shocks with the truth of its diagnoses and the painful relevance to our lives.

Ofra Offer Oren, Literary Blog

A terribly exciting book … I could not put it down.

Yaron London, Channel 10

A superb book depicting a political dystopia …  conveys the message powerfully. Must not be missed.  

Nissim Katz, Yekum Tarbut

An important book … I was totally captivated
Edna Abramson, Lit-Republic

One reads this book with bated breath … Impressive research work along with impressive narrative skill make The Third an unprecedentedly powerful account of the Third Temple …  An outstanding book … Yishai Sarid is a talented and ambitious storyteller … An engrossing book, disturbing and unusual on the local landscape. Do not miss it.

Raanan Shaked, E-vrit

Title The Third
Author’s Last Name Sarid
Author's First Name Yishai
Language(s) Hebrew, French, Italian
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2015
No. Pages 259 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Shlishi
Representation Represented by ITHL


French: Arles, Actes Sud, forthcoming
Italian: Florence, Giuntina, forthcoming
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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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