Unrecorded Acts of Terror – a nuclear fable
The Middle East is in the throes of preparation for a war with Iran, and Arie Schneider, the Israeli intelligence chief for special operations, is activated by the dire crisis. Israel appears on the verge of being attacked by Iranian missiles and, it is likely, by nuclear weapons. The United States appears to cut Israel out of decision-making about going to war and is implicated in disinformation, betrayals, and attacks on Arie’s foreign operatives. He becomes convinced that he must act, even if as a maverick, to warn the world powers of the danger and to ward off a nuclear war. He instructs his most trusted operatives in world capitals to receive and make ready 'small' tactical nuclear bombs from the Israeli arsenal, weapons of warning which he alone knows how to recall.
His elderly father, Rami, a gifted retired diplomat and a survivor of the Holocaust, struggles to confront the desperate logic of Arie’s actions. So too does his wife, Elena, who is sympathetic to Palestinians, rejects the Ultra-Orthodox and the Settlements, and yet cannot accept what she glimpses of her husband's vision of the world. There is a clandestine group of Palestinians plotting to assault an Israeli installation in Jerusalem. And finally, there is the Schneiders’ adolescent son, Moshe, who returns from a visit to America and confronts his father with the knowledge he has gleaned from his physician cousin there about the danger and horror of nuclear war.
In a series of increasingly terrifying encounters, the father Rami attempts to convince his son of the necessity of withdrawing his threats of violence, of acting for peace. Still, Arie resists, despite the tension of self-doubt and the weight of responsibility. In the climactic encounter between father and son, Rami argues that the ages-old struggle marking the past of the Jews must also mark their future and that nuclear weapons can never be used in a just cause. Arie holds fast, and in an ultimate attack on his son, echoing the Sacrifice of Isaac, Rami compels himself to tell Arie something about his origins that leads him to break down – his identity, his choices, and his past invalidated. The double bind of his fate collapses in on him, and with nothing more to hold him up, he commits suicide, leaving partial directions on how to abort his operation.
Rami’s final monologue reveals his lie to his son; the old man is harrowed by the responsibility of how to act for peace in a world of extreme and pervasive violence; such are the conditions that Arie tried to face with his desperate acts and which now the world at large confronts.
[The novel is approximately 200 pages long – about 55,000 words.]