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Morocco: Israeli romantic novel translated into Arabic for the first time

January 19, 2021 at 5:17 pm

An Israeli woman searches for a book at a shop in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv on October 29, 2009 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

An Israeli romantic novel has become the first Hebrew book to be translated into Arabic in Morocco, the Jerusalem Post has reported. A Girl in a Blue Shirt will soon be available for sale in Moroccan bookstores.

Written by Professor Gabriel Bensimhon, the novel explores the love between an immigrant boy from Morocco and an Israeli girl who is in love with a Holocaust survivor. It is set in the early years of Israel when the nascent occupation state had an influx of immigrants from Morocco.

“I grew up in the town of Sefrou in Morocco until I migrated to Israel at the age of 10,” explained Bensimhon. “As an academic, I have studied Moroccan culture extensively. There was always a warm corner in my heart for the rich and multi-faceted aspects that characterise the Moroccan culture. As a Moroccan Jew, I feel that I have come to realise a dream: the fact that my works are read in my hometown is a source of great personal pride.”

The book was chosen for translation by Professor Mohamed Elmedlaoui of the Mohammed V University in Rabat. It was translated by his student, Dr Ayashi Eladraoui.

Read: Trump receives Morocco’s highest award for Middle East work

Bensimhon added his hope that in the wake of the recent peace accords, novels and works by other Israeli authors will be translated into Arabic. Over the past five months, the US has helped to broker normalisation deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

US President Donald Trump, who leaves the White House tomorrow, has been criticised particularly over the terms of the Morocco agreement because to seal the deal he agreed that Washington will recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. There is a decades-old territorial dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.