This article was published on July 3rd, 2021
How do you resolve a generations-old conflict such as the Israeli-Palestinian one? It has vexed leaders for decades. Even beloved Jared Kushner, the fixer of everything for the former U.S. president, couldn’t crack it.
This was one of the questions on author’s Itamar S.N. ((Shafrir Nadjari) mind when he sat down to write this novel. His fictional solution? Israetine, “a democratic union of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the small area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.”
However, White Smoke cuts beyond politics and decades-old conflicts. It’s a story of unyielding love, affection, and family amid insurmountable challenges.
War & love
White Smoke is a love story: between two men, love for country, and basic love for all human beings. Itamar argues that “it doesn’t matter whether it’s women rights, LGBTQ rights, or minorities rights, in the end, it all comes down to basic human rights, as we were all born naked, free and equal.”
Yonatan Green, one of the novel’s protagonists, is a bisexual, intellectual troublemaker who’ll go to any length to provoke his right-wing dad, Israel’s Prime Minister. His father, like most leaders, is a person who puts country before his family.
In trying to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict that rears its ugly head from time to time, Yonatan’s father facilitates the creation of Israetine – a democratic union between Israel and the Palestinian authority. And, for the first time, Yonatan is really proud of his dad.
Then, as sometimes happens in life, Yonatan meets and falls in love, for the first time, with Meir, a shy high-tech entrepreneur. The couple decides to get married and adopt twins.
Their young family soon grows when fate brings Amal – a Palestinian girl and victim of a family honour acid attack, into their lives.
The family’s love story grows alongside that of the new Isratine State. However, the euphoria of peace and unification starts to fade when both Jewish and Arab anti-liberal forces join forces, putting the newfound, delicate democracy in jeopardy and threatening the life of Yonatan’s family.
As the smoke of destruction spreads over the country, the Prime Minister must accept his mistakes and rethink his ambitious and noble dream of Israetine.
Will hope triumph, or will the reflex of fear and hatred consume the nation and the young family with it?
Well, grab your copy of White Smoke here to find out.
About the author
Itamar S.N (Shafrir Nadjari), or Tita, is an Israeli writer and musician with a 20-year love affair with the restaurant business of Sunny Tel Aviv, Israel. He’s also gay and proud owner of two adorable cats and one big window with an ocean view for inspiration. Itamar volunteers with the LGBTQ movement as a writer for an Israeli parliament member in his spare time.
White Smoke is the author’s second novel. His first novel, NIV, told the story of four young lovers who experience a sexual awakening threatening the rigid religious customs and social attitudes around them.
White Smoke was released earlier this month. The novel is more relevant politically today than it has ever been, and not just in terms of the flare-ups in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also in the challenges democracy is facing worldwide and the lives, real lives it affects.
Love conquers all
It’s funny how love makes you do “crazy and irrational” things. It springs hope where none existed. It bonds people strongly together, especially in times of conflict.
White Smoke is perhaps a reminder that regardless of what’s going on around you or in the world (Covid-19 pandemic, for instance), you can always choose love and fight the good fight to protect your loved ones.
How the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gets resolved remains a mystery. However, like in Itamar’s novel, a solution where the two regions exist peacefully rests out there. Maybe, just maybe, Isratine may come to exist.