Living in the Levant

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Who Will Die Last? Who Will Die Last?  Stories of Life in Israel
by David Ehrlich
Syracuse Univ. Press.  154 pages, $19.95

 

STAND IN LINE to enter a movie theater in Israel, and it’s a good bet the stranger behind you will enter your conversation to offer an opinion about whatever you’re discussing with your date. Israel is small enough to view itself as a family. Indeed, Israeli society is personal in a way that erases personal boundaries. To us Israelis, your business is my business, never mind that we’ve just met; I just want to help. In a country where the ethos of family prevails over formality, being openly gay means everyone around you will have something to say about it, often affirmingly. After all, if little else is your own business, why would being gay be?

Such is the sociological landscape for the seven short stories about gay life in Israel that appear among the 21 in Who Will Die Last? by the gay Israeli author David Ehrlich. Ehrlich, who is 54, is also the owner of Tmol Shilshom, a café in Jerusalem that’s popular with literary types.

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Yoav Sivan is an Israeli journalist based in New York. He maintains a website at www.YoavSivan.com.

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