Writer Orit Patkin’s 10th romance novel “Loving Stella,” which came out in March 2019, received an unexpected promotional boost when its cover was appended to a bouquet of booby-trapped balloons launched from Gaza on June 28. The package landed near the Negev Desert kibbutz of Tze’elim, just hours after Hamas and Israel reportedly reached a new Egyptian-mediated truce deal. An Israeli source confirmed the report that same morning, saying Israel would respond to a cessation of violence by expanding Gaza’s fishing zone and renewing fuel supplies to the besieged enclave. On June 30, not a single balloon was launched from Gaza.
But why did the launchers of this last balloon (so far) attach to the bouquet the cover of a recently published romance novel from Israel? Apparently, three messages are behind this act. The first message was that the Gaza Strip is exposed to all sorts of unexpected (perhaps even unauthorized) reading materials from Israel. The second message was that, like in Israel, the people of Gaza are just regular people who aspire for love and normal lives. The third message was in the bouquet itself: Balloons will continue to be launched from Gaza to Israel if Israel does not enable Gazans normal lives, as much as possible.