When Israel was declared a state in 1948 and the Hebrew language was rejuvenated from obscurity (perhaps “reinvented” is a better word for it, thanks to one man with an obsession, but that’s a whole different story…), 69% of the books published were translations. Today, Hebrew is alive and vibrant, and more than 65% of published books are by Israeli authors, with many of those eventually translated to various other languages. The first generation of Israeli authors were Jewish immigrants from Europe or Russia and the prose tended to reflect that heritage and their own tradition of Judaism. As a result, they did not often deal with speculative fiction or fantasy to any large degree.
Slowly a second, incredibly influential generation of Israeli authors appeared. They replaced the focus on Judaism, or at the very least laced it with the new national identity to created prose which is uniquely Israeli. Yet none of those giants of this period took to the science fiction or fantasy genre—which is surprising, at least to me, since most Israelis I know, are obsessed with innovation and technology. Despite its small size (only 8 million in population), Israel is second only to the USA in patent registration. It is a powerhouse of technological firms and start-up companies. In recent years, Israeli SF/F is a slowly growing genre, and it is my hope that we will see more and more from Israeli authors writing in new and previous unimagined directions.