Israel Bans Novel Featuring Palestinian-Jewish Romance, Threatens ‘Jewish Identity’

Israel takes another step down a very dark path. Here is the news from Haaretz today:

Israel Bans Novel on Arab-Jewish Romance From Schools for ‘Threatening Jewish Identity’

Israel’s Education Ministry has disqualified a novel that describes a love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man from use by high schools..

Move comes despite the fact that the official responsible for teaching of literature in secular state schools recommended the book for use in advanced literature classes, as did a professional committee of academics and educators…

“Young people of adolescent age tend to romanticizing and don’t, in many cases, have the systemic vision that includes considerations involving maintaining the identity of the people and the significance of assimilation.”

The novel is Borderlife by Dorit Rabinyan. It is blurbed by Amos Oz. A description:

What begins in the cold of early New York winter ends on a Jaffa beach at summer’s blinding peak. A chance encounter brings two strangers together: Liat, an Israeli from Tel Aviv, and Hilmi, a Palestinian born in Hebron. For one frozen winter away from home, on snowy streets, filled with longing for a Middle Eastern sun, Liat and Hilmi demarcate the place reserved only for them, an intimate short-term place, a universe for two. At the fissures and margins of things, in corners and in gaps, the reality lurking in Israel peers and snarls at them. The story, with its twists and passions, follows them even when they each go their own way – Liat returning to Tel Aviv and Hilmi to the village of Jifna, north of Ramallah – refusing to end.

What will liberal Zionists say about this?When do you conclude that this kind of intolerance and racism is built into the very idea of religious nationalism? Henry Siegman writes in Haaretz today that American liberal values are not shared by Israel. And yes, we’re trying to live up to them over here; but it’s impossible to imagine this kind of official action here.

Thanks to Ofer Neiman.

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net. 


Articles by: Philip Weiss

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