It’s National Book Week in Israel, and as befitting the People of the Book, the nation’s parliamentarians decided to mark the occasion by reading out loud from their favorite works. As you could probably guess—this is Israel, after all—their literary selections closely mimicked their ideological worldviews. Knesset member Daniel Ben Simon, for example, an intellectual and former journalist for the left-leaning Haaretz, read from Dutch historian Johan Huizinga’s The Waning of the Middle Ages, a rolicking tale of 15th-century France’s descent into violence, pessimism, and cultural exhaustion. Haim Amsalem, of the religious Shas party, read from the collected letters of famed Sephardic Rabbi Yossef Mashash . And Aryeh Eldad, of the extreme right-wing National Union party, read poems by Uri Zvi Greenberg, a nationalistic militant who has called for establishing a new Jewish Kingdom stretching across the entire biblical land of Israel. Because there’s nothing like a good book to bring people together.
What’s Fine Literature Doing in the Knesset? [Ynet, in Hebrew]