Ofer Berkowitz, head of the Hitorerut (Awakening) party in the Jerusalem city council and a member of the district committee, has demanded that disgraced children's author Chaim Walder's books be removed from the municipal libraries and all public institutions in Jerusalem.
In a letter sent yesterday (Wednesday) to Ariella Rajuan, head of the Jerusalem Municipality's Sports and Leisure Administration, Berkowitz wrote: "In December 2021, various newspapers in Israel published news and testimonies that the well-known author Chaim Walder raped, exploited and sexually assaulted dozens of women, boys and girls for decades."
"As a public figure, I recognize the great public responsibility that exists for every public and recognizable figure regarding his behavior and actions, and the duty imposed on each such figure to set a personal and exemplary example of how to treat people," he noted. "Walder, as a well-known and esteemed figure, took advantage of his public status and the personal trust placed in him, and severely damaged the physical and mental health of dozens of women and girls in an irreparable manner."
"With the discovery of Mr. Walder's disgusting deeds, a widespread public demand began to boycott and discontinue the use and distribution of his many books. Despite his literary work and importance to the haredi and wider literary world, Mr. Walder's serious and unbearable actions leave no doubt in my heart, but to join the just public demand to remove Mr. Walder's books from the walls of municipal libraries and all publicly funded public institutions."
He said, "Following inquiries that have reached my office, I have learned that many municipal libraries continue to hold Mr. Walder's books and even display them widely. In light of Mr. Walder's serious actions, it is inconceivable that the Jerusalem Municipality and its institutions would continue to display his books in its institutions as if we were a normal citizen. This is an action which harms those who have been harmed by him, and which may be construed as an acceptance of Mr. Walder's actions."
"As the head of the Culture and Leisure Administration, I request that you act immediately to remove Mr. Walder's books from all municipal libraries," Berkowitz concluded.