Jews everywhere are celebrating Purim this Saturday night, the story of which took place in the ancient Persian Empire. On this week’s episode, host Marcela Sulak reads from the essay “Journey to the Land of Israel” by the Iranian writer Jalal Al-e Ahmad. The highly controversial essay is based on his two-week long trip to see Israel in 1963.

This is the intro to “Journey to the Land of Israel”:

“Jewish rule in the land of Palestine is a guardianship state and not another kind of government. It is the rule of the Children of Israel’s new guardians in the Promised Land, not the rule of the inhabitants of Palestine over Palestine. The first contradiction arising from the existence of Israel is this: that a people, a tribe, a religious community, or the surviving remnants of the twelve tribes—whatever designation you prefer—throughout history, traditions, and myths suffered homelessness and exile, and nurtured many dreams in their hearts until they finally settled, in a way, in answer to such hopes and in a land neither especially promising nor ‘promised.'”

Jalal Al-e Ahmad was born to a religious family in Tehran in 1923. A teacher all his life, he joined the Communist Tudeh Party in 1943. His body of work includes short stories, notably the collection An Exchange of Visits and novels including By the Pen, The School Principal, and A Stone on a Grave. Al-e Ahmad was married to the novelist and translator Simin Daneshvar; the couple had no children. He died in 1969. The book was translated by the Jerusalem-based Samuel Thrope.

Text:
The Israeli Republic by Jalal Al-e Ahmad. Restless Books, 2017.

Music:
Mohammad Reza Shajarian – Entezar
آلبوم کامل رندان مست ـ محمدرضا شجریان

Producer: Ariella Plachta
Technical producer: Tammy Goldenberg

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