Sayed Kashua

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Sayed Kashua
Born1975 (age 43–44)
NationalityArab Israeli
Alma materHebrew University of Jerusalem
Occupationauthor and journalist

Sayed Kashua (Arabic: سيد قشوع‎, Hebrew: סייד קשוע‎; born 1975) is a Palestinian citizen of Israel[1], author and journalist born in Tira, Israel, known for his books and humorous columns in the Hebrew language.


Sayed Kashua was born in Tira in the Triangle region of Israel to Muslim parents of Palestinian descent. In 1990, he was accepted to a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem - Israel Arts and Science Academy.[2] He studied sociology and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Kashua was a resident of Beit Safafa before moving to a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem with his wife and children.[3]

Kashua accepted teaching positions in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and Chicago, moving there with his wife and three children for the 2014/15 academic year. He participated in the Creative Writing program's bilingualism workshop at the University of Chicago and is a clinical professor in the Israel Studies program at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.[4] His Haaretz column of July 4, titled "Why Sayed Kashua is Leaving Jerusalem and Never Coming Back: Everything people had told him since he was a teenager is coming true. Jewish-Arab co-existence has failed."[5] was published at a volatile time in the country's intergroup relations, involving the kidnapping/murders of Jewish students in the West Bank and an Arab youth in East Jerusalem, though prior to the July 8 outbreak of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict. His declaration elicited numerous responses in the Israeli press from colleagues and readers who were concerned by the issues he raises.

Literary career[edit]

Kashua publishes a personal weekly column in Hebrew for Haaretz newspaper[6] and a local Jerusalem weekly, HaIr. In a humorous, tongue-in-cheek style,[7] his anecdotal pieces address the problems faced by Arabs in Israel.[8]


Avoda Aravit (2007), or in English, Arab Labor, is a satirical sitcom written by Kashua and aired on Israel's Channel 2. A large part of the dialogue is in Arabic with Hebrew subtitles. The show is about a young Arab couple, Amjad (Norman Issa) and Bushra (Clara Khoury), and their young daughter, who live in an Arab village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Amjad is a journalist working for a Hebrew newspaper (much like Haaretz) who desperately seeks to assimilate into the prevailing Israeli Jewish cultural milieu with mixed and hilarious results.[2] The show holds a mirror up to the racism and ignorance on both sides of the ethnic divide and has been compared with All in the Family.

In the auto-fictional drama The Writer (2015) draws Kateb on his own experiences for his depiction of the turbulent daily life of a young Arab and his family living in Israel. But the more successful his satirical TV series becomes, the more Kateb feels alienated from his alter ego.[9]


A film adaptation of Kashua's second novel, Let It Be Morning, is slated to begin production in early 2017.[10]

Awards and prizes[edit]

Published works[edit]


A 2009 documentary film (directed and written by Dorit Zimbalist, produced by Barak Heymann and Dorit Zimbalist), Sayed Kashua — Forever Scared, documents the upheavals and events that changed Kashua's life over a period of seven years.[15][16][17]


  1. ^ Kashua, Sayed (2018-07-30). "Opinion | Israel Doesn't Want to Be My State". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  2. ^ a b Kershner, Isabel (2008-01-07). "Straddling Cultures, Irreverently, in Life and Art". New York Times. Israel. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
  3. ^ Atlantic Books: Sayed Kashua
  4. ^ Jewish Culture and Society: Faculty Directory
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Boston Review — lalami.php". Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Melanie Goodfellow (8 July 2016). "Eran Kolirin to adapt Kashua's "Let It Be Morning"". Screen Daily online. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  11. ^ Sayed Kashua on The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature website Archived January 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Award winners". Archived from the original on 2013-11-23.
  13. ^ פרס ברנשטיין לסייד קשוע [The Bernstein Prize to Sayed Kashua] (in Hebrew), ישראל היום, July 19, 2011, p. 31
  14. ^ GPLA 2017 shortlist:
  15. ^ "Sayed Kashua - Forever Scared". Heymann Brothers Films. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  16. ^ Sayed Kashua: Forever Scared (2009) on IMDb
  17. ^ "Sayed Kashua- Forever Scared". Ruth Diskin Films. Retrieved November 5, 2014.

External links[edit]