Why Israel isn’t keen on Arabic literature

The Jerusalem International Writers Fest was held mid-May, just two weeks before the Palestine Festival of Literature was staged all across historic Palestine. At the Jerusalem festival, there was no apparent recognition of Arabic literature, despite the city’s large (~34%) Arab population. How can that be? asks blogger “Arablit”: Your Middle East

At the opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Writers Festival, author Dror Mishani decried this lack:

More and more, Hebrew literature is being created from itself, within itself, contrary to the way that it has been created over the centuries – with too little dialogue with foreign literatures – and even turning its back to languages and literatures around and inside it.

He went on:

We almost don’t translate literature from Arabic. More than that, we even put up with a law that effectively prohibits the import of books from Arab countries.

I belong to a generation of writers and authors who cannot even conduct a dialogue with the languages and literatures that surround them, and in their very midst.

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