A bill was
in Israel overturning an old law which outlawed selling books from hostile countries. Haaretz reports;
Books translated in "hostile countries" will soon be allowed to be sold in Israel, after the Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided yesterday to support a bill overturning a World War II-era law aimed at blocking information from enemy states.
This will allow the Arabic translations of best-selling children's books like "Harry Potter" and "Pinocchio," as well as Arabic versions of prominent Israeli authors, to be sold here.
Until now, Arabic translations of popular children's books and works by authors like Amos Oz, Yoram Kaniuk and Eshkol Nevo were not available in Israel, because they were printed in hostile countries like Syria and Lebanon. This was because a 1939 British-Mandate era law prohibited literature from being imported from enemy states.
Given the relatively low readership of Arabic-language books in Israel, and the resulting low returns on translations, almost none have been produced in Israel.
The present bill, initiated by MKs Yuli Tamir, Yariv Levin and Zeev Bielski, aims to make literature in Arabic more readily available.
Tamir (Labor) said yesterday, "This would be an important law, one that ensures the freedom of literature and culture of all citizens. Every citizen is entitled to read literature in his mother tongue. This law would end the absence of children's books and belles-lettres for Arabic readers."
The bill will still allow the government to reject books that incite hate, such as terrorist screeds, or Holocaust-denying books.