Need­less own goal

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

Is­rael has enough real prob­lems with­out hav­ing to deal with en­tirely self-in­flicted and un­nec­es­sary own goals. The de­ci­sion by the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry to ban from the curriculum a novel about a love af­fair be­tween an Is­raeli woman and a Pales­tinian man is crass and stupid. the win­ner of Is­rael’s pres­ti­gious Bern­stein lit­er­ary prize, brings hon­our rather than shame to the coun­try. But Naf­tali Ben­nett’s de­ci­sion to over­rule an ad­vi­sory panel of Is­raeli aca­demics who rec­om­mended that it should be placed on the school curriculum does the op­po­site. In words that will re­pel any­one with a sense of history — not to say de­cency — Mr Ben­nett said that ‘‘in­ti­mate re­la­tions be­tween Jews and nonJews are a threat to our sep­a­rate iden­tity’’. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the Is­rael-haters have leapt on this as sup­pos­edly prov­ing that Is­rael is an apartheid state. It does no such thing, of course. It sim­ply proves that Naf­tali Ben­nett has acted like a bigot. But his ac­tions now mean Is­rael has cre­ated and lost yet an­other PR bat­tle.

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