Globe Briefs January 7

Globe Briefs January 7

Novel banned from Israeli high schools is runaway best-seller

A novel about a Israeli-Palestinian romance that was banned at secular state schools in Israel is a runaway best-seller.

Following reports that “Gader Haya,” or “Borderlife,” by Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan, was banned from the curriculum of advanced high school literature classes, the book was leading sales in Israeli bookstores, according to reports.

The Education Ministry last month rejected an advisory panel’s recommendation to include the book, about a romance between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, in the curriculum for advanced literature students.

Meanwhile, Ha’aretz reported Sunday that Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will investigate the ministry’s decision to ban the book from high school reading lists.

The decision to open the investigation came after a letter sent by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which called on the ministry to change its decision.

The Education Ministry said last week it rejected the book, Ha’aretz reported, in part because of the need to maintain what was referred to as “the identity and the heritage of students in every sector” and the belief that “intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threatens the separate identity.”

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the right-wing religious Zionist Jewish Home party, heads the ministry.

“The minister backs the decision made by the professionals,” Bennett’s office told Ha’aretz.

2 Israeli actors to appear in ‘Game of Thrones’

Two Israeli actors will appear in the upcoming sixth season of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

It is unknown what roles Ania Bukstein and Yousef Sweid will play, the Times of Israel reported last week.

Bukstein, 33, is a household name in Israel for roles in shows and movies such as “Rabies,” “False Flag” and “The Secrets.” Sweid, 39, an Arab-Israeli, is known for parts in the show  “Homeland” and play, “Walk on Water.”

According to the Times of Israel, three other Israeli actors — Yuval Scharf, Neta Garty and Leem Lubany — have also tried out for “Game of Thrones” roles. Lubany is rumored to have secured a part.

The sixth season of “Game of Thrones,” based on the fantasy book series by George R. R. Martin, will air in April.

Treaty between Vatican, state of Palestine goes into effect

Nearly three years after the Vatican recognized a State of Palestine, a treaty signed this summer defining relations between the two entities has gone into effect, despite condemnation from Israel.

The Vatican announced Saturday that in reference to the Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine signed June 26, “the Holy See and the State of Palestine have notified each other that the procedural requirements for its entry into force have been fulfilled.”

It said the agreement “regards essential aspects of the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, while at the same time reaffirming the support for a negotiated and peaceful solution to the conflict in the region.”

Israel sharply criticized the agreement when it was signed as “a hasty step” that “damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said it also could have “implications” for Israel’s relations with the Holy See.

The Vatican extended de facto recognition to the Palestinian state in February 2013, making the recognition official with the Comprehensive Agreement.

2 teens arrested in attack on Jewish man in Brooklyn

Two Brooklyn teenagers have been arrested in the beating and robbery of a 60-year-old Jewish man in the New York City borough.

Eldin Sabovic, 17, and Baskim Huseinovic, 19, were arrested Dec. 31, the New York Post reported, and were charged with robbery and assault. The attack is not considered a hate crime.

The attack on the kippah-wearing victim, whose first name is Eli,  took place Dec. 27 in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a large Orthodox Jewish population. It was recorded on a nearby home’s surveillance video.

Eli was punched at least four times and thrown to the sidewalk. With the help of an accomplice, the assailant then stole the victim’s iPhone and wallet. The two assailants fled the scene in a black car driven by a third man, according to WPIX-TV.

The following day, a 17-year-old yeshiva student was attacked in the same neighborhood.

“I’m just in complete shock over the recent spate of violence and brutality,” New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Yeshiva World News following the second attack.

Shomrim, a Jewish security patrol, reportedly stepped up its activity in the neighborhood after the attacks.