Ayman Sikseck’s stunning debut novel about the paradoxical and problematic life of a Palestinian-Israeli. The nameless protagonist comes from a venerable and traditional Arab family in the ancient city of Jaffa. A student at the Hebrew University, his elders expect him to devote himself to Arabic literature and to Islam, but instead he becomes a devotee of the great Hebrew poet Chaim Nahman Bialik. He is also involved in two relationships: one with Sherihan, a Muslim woman who is engaged to another man, and the other with Nitzan, a Jewish woman who works in security and who is trained to see Arabs in a crowd as potential dangers. Sikseck writes in a restrained, reflective prose style that is both poetic and reportorial. IN JAFFA penetrates the complex and fragmented psychological, social and political realities of the third generation of Palestinians since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 – what Jews call Israeli Independence and what Palestinians describe as the Nakba (“the Catastrophe”).
Germany, Arche Verlag; Israel, Miskal
“To Jaffa is an important novel; it allows its readers to experience the fabric of life of an Arab who lives within and alongside Israeli societ, and yet is forced to deal on a daily basis with dilemmas from which an Israeli Jew is exempt. Sikseck exposes Israeli society in its bare weaknesses. His perspective is ominous yet always compassionate. We are inclined to see the Arab-Israeli conflict as problems of aggression and incitement. Sikseck shows us, through his chaste lyrical style and rich inner world, the many varying colors and complexities of the situation.” – Ha’aretz
“A wonderful novel; I read it breathlessly, and savored every moment. I hope as many people as possible read To Jaffa - a truly heart-wrenching piece.” – Kol Israel
“Sikseck’s ironic tone reflects the underlying irony of Israeli-Arab life, a kind of irony inherent in the definition ”Israeli-Arab.” To Jaffa brings to the fore several alarming and crucial issues, such as the battle for the democratic nature of Israel and the growing hatred toward the Arab and the foreigner in the Israeli society.” – Ma’ariv