Note: The author, Orly (Mojgan) Noy, has translated 2 major modern Iranian works of literature, "My Uncle Napoleon" & "The Colonel," to Hebrew.


... I am a citizen of two problematic countries, both of which have a record of human rights violations, political arrests, torture and executions (yes, in my eyes the IDF’s open-fire regulations in the West Bank are a clear form of execution).  I am a citizen of two countries whose politics I loathe, while at the same time I feel very connected to their respective civil societies. I ask myself, then, why the Iranian national symbols, such as the color of the flag, fill me with pride, while Israel’s symbols make me feel uncomfortable. Why is it easy for me to identify as a proud Iranian and not a proud Israeli, despite my deep commitment to Israeli society?  I believe that the answer has much to do with the fact that in Iran there is a national identity independent of the current regime — a deep, tangible Iranian identity that is not subject to a specific rule. ... In Israel, however, there is a direct overlap between the state and the regime. Although there have always been non-Zionist voices here, Israel was established and formed as a Zionist state, and as such it is very difficult to develop a national, Israeli identity that is separate from the state. When the Israeli public hears calls for the end of the Zionist regime, it views them as a direct threat to physically annihilate the state. In Iran, not a single person will view a call to end the Islamic Republic as a call to annihilate Iran. ... In Israel ... any attempt to raise the issue of changing the national anthem so that it does not exclude the country’s non-Jewish citizens is roundly rejected. Even the idea itself is seen as a form of treason. Similarly, an Israeli who waves the flag outside the country will do so out of open support for his country. An Iranian who waves the triple-colored flag outside of Iran will do so in order to express solidarity with his people, and will most likely be an opponent of the regime. ...

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