Dov, an Israeli mathematics graduate student, watches the young child of a woman he knew at a kibbutz. He alternates between loving the child as he still loves the woman and intentionally endangering the child (for example, leaving the child untreated with a fever of 103 in a room with a poisonous snake).
Several references are made to the difficulties he is having with his thesis:
(quoted from Three Days and a Child)
I have been stuck, ever since the spring, within a selfmade labyrinth laid open to a suddenly discovered logical contradiction. I need inspiration, a special kind of light. As though I were writing a novel. Every step in working out an equations becomes a painful burden.

Furthermore, the story also frequently discusses mathematics education as Dov is working as a teacher while also completing his thesis. He teaches mathematics "to two fifth year classes majoring in literature". (I do not know enough about Israeli school to know how old the students are supposed to be...apparently many are teenage girls.) Dov says of their mathematical abilities:
(quoted from Three Days and a Child)
Nevertheless, they learned mathematics.
They did tolerably well, on average, though they were never inspired with any enthusiasm in the working out of a problem. They would think mechanically with their literary brains.

(Is this sarcasm from an author who thinks that, in fact, it is mathematical brains that think mechanically?) Similar criticism of the inability of "nature lovers" to appreciate mathematics follows. At one point, Dov nonsensically mentions "a blackboard abounding with quadratic equations of the first degree", which could possibly be a mistranslation as the story was originally written in Hebrew
One can certainly see why Yehoshua is praised as "one of Israel's worldclass writers". This is a powerful, deep and beautifully written story.
But, what does it say about mathematics? I can only imagine that the character's disdain for his students and lack of compassion for the child left under his care are intended to be recognized as the sort of things that mathematicians would do. I can certainly name other works of mathematical fiction in which this stereotype appears (see, for example, Antonia's Line and Old Fillikin).
I am uncertain of this story's publication history. I see that it appeared in English translation in 1970 in an anthology of the same name, but cannot find any indication of it being published in the original Hebrew prior to 1975. (This cannot be right, however, since I see that it was made into a short film in 1967!)
If anyone can help me determine the original publication date of "Shlosha Yamim V'yeled" I would be grateful. 