AG probes removal of Jewish-Arab love story

Weinstein opens probe into Education Ministry's decision after ACRI asserted it stemmed from 'anti-educational motives.'

Cynthia Blank,

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein
Flash 90

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will probe the Education Ministry's decision to disqualify Dorit Rabinyan's novel “Borderlife" from Israel's high-school literature curriculum. 

Weinstein's decision to investigate, Haaretz reported Sunday, came after the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) protested the Education Ministry's move. 

Although the ministry's advisory committee recommended including “Borderlife” in the curriculum, Dalia Fenig, head of the ministry’s pedagogical secretariat, overruled the recommendation, over fears the book's plot would promote assimilation. 

The novel, which depicts a romance between an Israeli woman and Arab man, could prove dangerous to teens, Fenig asserted, who lack “a systematic worldview that includes considerations of preserving the nation’s identity and the significance of assimilation.”

In response, the ACRI sent a letter to both Fenig and Weinstein, urging the ministry to reconsider, arguing the ban stemmed from "irrelevant and anti-educational motives."

“The decision contradicts the goals of state education, imposes political censorship on literature and art ... and demonstrates contempt for the ability of teachers and students to discuss complex and controversial issues,” wrote ACRI attorney Tal Hassin.

The controversial decision to pull the novel from the literature curriculum prompted outrage among leftist politicians and authors

The Education Ministry later backed away slightly from its disqualification of the novel, announcing "Borderlife" could be studied in advanced literature studies classes, but not as part of the regular school curriculum.