The issue of the illegal immigrants is a burning topic that refuses to leave the headlines in Israel — not a day goes by when the subject is not mentioned. I was intrigued by it. The fact that I am a thriller writer made it even more interesting to me. The African immigrants have created a new reality in this regard, as they are almost invisible to Israeli society. They are without permanent places of domicile or employment, and because most of them are men who arrived here alone, they don't have family ties or friends.
I always carry out research before writing a book, but the research I did prior to this book was unprecedented for me. I was drawn into this problem, and the more I delved into it, the more I understood how complex it really is. I explored the relevant areas in Tel Aviv with members of the Israeli Police Force, representatives of human rights organizations, lawyers, and UN representatives. I met with neighborhood residents. And of course, I met and interviewed Africans who had arrived in Israel. I would take a taxi from my office in Tel Aviv, and after a drive of less than ten minutes I entered a different world. There were hardly any Israelis there, nor women, nor elderly. Only young African men, asylum seekers. The smells, the colors, and the ambience changed completely. I felt that I had been transported.
From all of this I concocted the novel's plot that, although fictional, is very close to reality. One of the things that interested me when writing was how the Africans transfer money to their families. I asked and researched, but no one had the answer. In order to solve the problem, I concocted an Israeli criminal organisation that sells guns in Africa, which established a sort of bank for Africans in Israel (they themselves cannot open bank accounts in Israel). Eventually, it turned out that my creation is very similar to a model that actually exists and was exposed by a CIA investigation. Perhaps more disturbingly, a woman that is very involved with this issue told me that when reading the book she recognised the murderer immediately. When I asked her how, she told me “I met him”. This was shocking to me because I had invented him, and he was not a character I could love.
It was rather startling to find such a heinous figment of my imagination could live among us.