Egypt u-turn on publishing Israeli books

Egypt u-turn on publishing Israeli books

[T]he culture minister and abstract artist Farouk Hosni has come under some severe criticism for comments he made last year to the Egyptian parliament in which he said he would burn any Israeli books that were being held by the Alexandria library.

Mr Hosni subsequently offered his apologies.

Now the ministry is trying to put some weight behind his campaign by announcing that it will publish Arabic translations of novels by the renowned Israeli writers Amos Oz and David Grossman – for the first time.

The national translation centre said it was translating books from 27 languages including Hebrew.

The timing of this announcement is surely no coincidence.

A spokesman for the ministry said he hoped to have an agreement signed with their English and French publishers by early July – a good two months before the Unesco decision.

However, they are still refusing to deal directly with the Israeli publishers because they say it would cause a scandal in Egypt and across the Arab world.

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