1. Let’s start at the beginning. This is Naftali Bennet, Israel’s Minister of Education. He’s the leader of a party devoted to expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and a key member of the current government’s coalition.
2. Last week, the Education Ministry disqualified Dorit Rabinyan’s novel called “Gader Haya,” known in English as “Borderlife,” from being added to the country’s high school curriculum.
In a statement, the ministry told NBC News that the book was not approved because it was “full of layers of hidden narratives, with criticism of the liberal-left part of the Israeli political spectrum, [and] wrapped in a romantic story of an impossible love.”
The love in question? Between Liat, an Israeli academic, and Hilmi, a Palestinian artist, who meet and fall in love in New York City.
“The professional team came to the conclusion” that adolescents “may have difficulty to go in depth into these layers,” the ministry’s statement continued.
The ministry later said that advanced classes could use the book, but it would stay off regular literature classes’ lesson plans.
4. In response to the ban, which some have called racist and several teachers have indicated that they’d ignore, TimeOut Tel Aviv produced a video of six pairs of Arabs and Jews — some gay, some straight, some couples, some strangers, some friends — kissing.
“When the story came out last Thursday we were already working on another big project,” TimeOut Tel Aviv deputy editor Nof Nathanson told the Washington Post. “But during our editorial meeting this week we decided that we needed to take action against this decision. We immediately started working on the video.”
Facebook didn’t immediately return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
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