Thursday, December 31, 2015
Israel has refused to include a novel about a love affair between a Jewish woman and a Palestinian man in the country's high-school curriculum over concerns that it could encourage intermarriage between Jews and gentiles
The rejection of Borderlife, a novel published in 2014, created an uproar in Israel, with critics accusing the government of censorship. The rejection also touched on the climate of mistrust between Arabs and Jews, which has deepened during the current wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The ministry said that a panel had debated adding Borderlife to the high-school reading curriculum but decided against it. Israeli media said that teachers had requested its inclusion on the student reading lists. Earlier, a letter by ministry official Dalia Fenig, said that the book, which in 2015 received Israel's prestigious Bernstein literary prize, was excluded because its content was deemed unfit for high school students. "Adolescent youth tend to romanticize and don't have, in many cases, the systematic point of view that includes considerations about preserving the identity of the nation and the significance of assimilation," Fenig was quoted. She also said that the timing, coinciding with the current outburst of violence, was not right, fearing tensions could be inflamed in classrooms over the book. More than three months of Israeli-Palestinian violence has killed 21 Israelis and 131 Palestinians, sending tensions between Arabs and Jews soaring.