First Among Nations captures the sights, sounds, tumultuous history and modern realities of Israel
CLEVELAND, Ohio—In First Among Nations, his debut novel, Ira Mosen—an American physician now living in Israel—tells the story of Zar, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, Egel, a secular Jew raised on a kibbutz, and Hajji, a Muslim Israeli-Arab. Despite their cultural and religious differences, the young men find common ground as soccer players on the Israel National Team vying for a World Cup championship.
When Mosen and his family moved to Israel two years ago, he was surprised by how much of a melting pot the country is and how well people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds get along. He saw it in the hospital where he worked, as doctors, residents and nurses laughed and teamed up to give excellent patient care. He saw it in the kind eyes of a hijab-wearing pharmacist who ensured that the medicine he was picking up was kosher for Passover.
These experiences inspired Mosen to focus on the themes of tolerance and collaboration in his novel. “My goal in writing this book is to find a common ground that binds us all together, to build bridges, and to change the conversation from a contentious one to one of mutual respect and understanding,” he writes. “Ultimately, my goal is to help, in whatever tiny way I can, to promote peaceful coexistence. I pray every day for peace, and I thank God for His promise that peace—as elusive as it may seem—is, ultimately, attainable.”
Mosen did most of the writing in flights and airports during the monthly work commutes he made from Israel to Ohio and back again for a year. The considerable time he spent in airports became a therapeutic exercise, one that is now paying off with glowing endorsements for his book.
Praise for First Among Nations
“A wonderful and uplifting coming of age story that will resound with readers everywhere.” — Heather Morris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
“Mosen’s depictions of life in Israel are vivid and captivating. First Among Nations is an excellent, thought-provoking read.” ― Sen. Joseph Lieberman
“First Among Nations succeeds in offering a deeper truth about the challenges of different communities in Israel. In doing so, this book also reminds us of the real story of Israel.” ― Dennis Ross, former American peace envoy to the Middle East
“Mosen expertly tells the tale of the young Zionist country with its challenges in cliffhanging fashion with plenty of surprises. You won’t want to put this book down!” ― Joshua Halickman, SportsRabbi.com, The Jerusalem Post
“The reader will come away with a much better understanding of the complexities of living in a true melting pot, the dangers of anti-Semitism, and the richness gained through understanding and appreciation for one another.” ― Phil Markwardt, Executive Director, Operation Exodus USA
About Ira Mosen
Ira Mosen is the pen name of an Ivy League trained physician who was raised on the East Coast and worked 15 years in private medical practice in the Midwest. In 2018 he moved, with his family, to Israel. Mosen works at a clinic in central Israel that provides low-cost medical care to Israelis of all backgrounds and religions. Mosen’s new podcast offers a virtual book club and readings from the book.
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