In his native Iran, leaders openly wish for Israel to be wiped off the map. Yet Payam Feili, a poet and novelist, developed what he called a “special relationship” with the place, imagining it in his stories, which are replete with gay themes and Jewish symbols.
Now Mr. Feili, who is 30 and openly gay, is living in Tel Aviv as he seeks asylum in Israel. He has tattooed a Star of David on his neck.
“The more I gained a reputation outside Iran, the harder it became for me to live in Iran,” Mr. Feili said of the Islamic republic, where gay people have been executed. “Long before I left Iran,” he added, “I thought that the only other place in the world I could live was Israel.”