Israel Bars Book From Schools Due To Its Discussion Of “Intimate Relations Between Jews and non-Jews”

RNS-BOOK-ISRAELWe recently discussed the concern over the criminalization of speech in Israel. Now there is an added concern after Israel’s Education Ministry disqualified Dorit Rabinyan’s award winning “Gader Haya” (literally “Hedgegrow,” but known in English as “Borderline”)from being used in high schools. The reason? The novel describes a love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. The Education Ministry decided that the novel threatened “the identity and the heritage of students in every sector,” and the belief that “intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threatens the separate identity.”

It is a truly disappointing decision from a nation founded by people who survived book burning and censorship laws. The Education Ministry insisted that “young people of adolescent age don’t have the systemic view that includes considerations involving maintaining the national-ethnic identity of the people and the significance of miscegenation.” Wow. Miscegenation?

Recently published in Hebrew by Am Oved about a year and a half ago, the novel tells the story of Liat, an Israeli translator, and Hilmi, a Palestinian artist, who fall in love in New York. The couple eventually moves back to Tel Aviv and the West Bank city of Ramallah. It is now the romance that the Education Ministry dares not speak its name.

The decision reverses the view of a professional committee headed by Prof. Rafi Weichert from the University of Haifa and including academics, Education Ministry representatives and career teachers. The panel recommended the use of the book. The panel’s role is to advise the ministry on various educational issues, including approval of curriculum.

I have long admired Israeli educational standards and its remarkable educational system. It is therefore particularly disappointing to see such anti-intellectual and intolerant views emerge over the assignment of such books. It is ignorance and intolerance that threatens Israel not concepts considered by some to be offensive like miscegenation.

Ironically, the effort to block the book has led to a surge in sales in Israel.

Source: New York Times

70 thoughts on “Israel Bars Book From Schools Due To Its Discussion Of “Intimate Relations Between Jews and non-Jews””

  1. Nick….the WallaWalla Sweet Onions are very mild……the low sulfer content of the soil in that area of SE Washington is said to be the reason for the mild taste/ flavor of the onions.
    The Georgia Vidalia Sweets are also very good, as are the Texas Sweets.
    The Maiu sp? Sweets are good, but really expensive.
    I worked in in the onion fields and the packing/ shipping facility for a few years in the 1960s…..took me about 10 years to want to eat any onions.
    Was overwhelmed by the strong smell of tens of thousands of onions daily, couldn’t stand them for a while.
    I got a new appreciation for them as a young adult…..always try to stock on the WW Sweets while they’re in season.
    15 years ago, there was a Rizzuti family reunion, with the descendents of Luigi Rizzuti invited.
    He was one of the first Italian immigrants in the Walla Walla area.
    There were about 200 people at the reunion……I found out that I was related to people I never knew were distant cousins.

  2. Tom Nash, I now remember a conversation we had some time back about your area and how Italians came to settle in the great Northwest. I seem to remember you were researching the emigration? All I can say is I love Walla Walla Sweet Onions. Many onions give me agita. Not if they’re cooked, but if I eat them uncooked. Walla’s I can eat, in moderation, w/o agita.

    1. Nick, sorry to break it to you, but the agita is there, always, either you have it or you give it, just sayin’.

  3. John Smith

    Your rant ran out of gas when you brought Jesus into the argument. Absolutely the only historical reference that was not made up by others who used this fellow to pull together a religion was to the fact that he existed and that he was one of a long stream of rabble rouser Jews at a time when the Jewish homeland was occupied and the culture was compromised by puppet Jewish Kings. Jesus was no different than John the Baptist or the guys before him. Those so called disciples saw the opportunity and seized the moment. It has been happening throughout history as power through religion is the only power of its kind. There is the hereditary power and its authority. There is the momentary power of the strongest and smartest. But, the easiest power to pull together is that of the sorcerer. Christianity was one of many attempts to be the missing piece of the ever existing puzzle.

    Monotheism was the obvious most powerful religion as the religions of pantheons was simply too dysfunctional and invited too many opinions. You have a god that is all and that’s that. You have a link from the mystery of life to the reality of life. Then, you have a leader that claims a place in the chain. Christianity was not a novel idea. It had been done many times before. And, it continues to this day. There is a certain inevitable logic here.

    Everything other than a record that he existed and existed only has been made up, kind of like L. Ron Hubbard’s stuff and the fifty or seventy virgins stuff. Just say you believe this stuff and take the fairy tale out of your arguments based on statistics and facts.

  4. Nick,
    The Southern Italians were the”Yellowhawk Italians”, since they all settled around Yellowhawk Creek. The Northern Italians were then”College Place Italians”,’, settling a few miles away.
    There was a large influx of Italian immigrants from c. 1880 to c. 1920. Most of these immigrants were “truck farmers”, with small acreages, but still producing a lot of crops for the size of their farms.
    They were especially known for their Walla Walla Sweet Onions, and could make a living from the very productive truck farms. To this day, 4th generation Italians produce the Walla Walla Sweet Onions?
    The Northern/Southern Italian feud is mostly ancient history. But about 10 years ago there was an exchange in the Italian Heritage Newsletter about the different settlements of the Northern and Southern Italians. My cousin and Godfather, an incredible chef who volunteered for fundraisers in to his 90s putting on dinners, commented that” We’re all friends now_ but our Southern Italian cooking is still a lot better than the Northern cooking”?
    I asked him if he got any feedback from that comment. He laughed and said that
    some of his Northern Italian friends said “Whatta mean, saying your cooking is better than ours!!!

  5. By the way, bambam, I challenge you to a debate, any topic of your choosing…Islam or Judaism, or both, since those 2 seems unavoidable 🙂
    Let end this once for all.
    we’ll agree on a couple of people here to moderate it and call us (you) out when we (you) engage in fallacious arguments.
    Whoever loses gets to adopt Nick..
    Otherwise we’ll just keep arguing over the same exact things over and over again, and though fun…

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