Education Ministry: Jewish-Arab love story can be studied in advanced classes

Officials make slight backtrack on ban on Dorit Rabinyan novel, though regular curriculum will still not include book

File: Author Dorit Rabinyan (screen capture: YouTube)
File: Author Dorit Rabinyan (screen capture: YouTube)

The Education Ministry has backtracked slightly on its announcement that a book depicting an Israeli-Palestinian love story has been disqualified from the high school curriculum, saying Thursday evening that it would permit study of the text as part of advanced literature classes.

However, the ministry said the book would not be included in the approved reading list for regular literature studies.

The book “Gader Haya” (translated as “Borderlife” in English), by Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan, has been in massive demand since news of the text’s rejection by the ministry broke Wednesday.

The Education Ministry said the book had been rejected for inclusion in its reading list, despite requests by teachers, after deeming the content unfit for high school students.

Gader Haya, published in 2014, tells the story of an Israeli translator and a Palestinian artist who fall in love in New York but later part ways, as she returns to the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and he to Ramallah in the West Bank. It was among the winners of the Bernstein Prize for young writers, an annual Israeli award for Hebrew literature.

“Officials discussed the matter of including the book in the curriculum,” the ministry said in a statement. “After it seriously examined all the considerations, and weighed the advantages and drawbacks, they decided not to include the book in the curriculum.”

Dorit Rabinyan's "Gader Haya" (Am Oved)
Dorit Rabinyan’s ‘Gader Haya’ (Am Oved)

But sales of the book jumped dramatically in the wake of the ministry decision.

“So far, we have sold 50 times more copies than we sold yesterday, and by the end of the day it may be as high as 100,” said the Tzomet Sfarim bookstore chain. “The numbers are growing by the hour, and by the end of the day there will probably be no copies left — as has happened in our branch at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, for example. We have already asked the publisher for more.”

The book’s publishing house, Am Oved, said the demand was so great, it will now print a new run.


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