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Israeli Academic Study of Zionism Published in UAE Amid Expanding Ties

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The cover of the Arabic translation of the Israeli study “Zionism in Arab Discourse.” Photo: Tel Aviv University

An Israeli academic study of Zionism has been translated into Arabic and published in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in another sign of expanding ties following the Abraham Accords.

The book, “Zionism in Arab Discourse,” explores the relationship between certain Arab intellectuals and Zionism, positing that despite their hostility to the movement for Jewish self-determination, many also felt it had qualities that ought to be emulated. These include a focus on democracy, women’s rights, the revival of Hebrew, scientific achievement, and others.

Originally published in Hebrew by Prof. Uriya Shavit of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Ofir Winter of the Institute for National Security Studies in 2013, the Arabic version was translated by Egyptian Rami Abd el-Hai. It is also available in English.

Although Israeli books have long been available in Arabic, they are often pirated copies, according to a press release by TAU. The publication of Zionism in Arab Discourse some two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi marks one of the rare occasions when an Arabic translation was published under a formal copyright agreement.

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In a statement, Shavit and Winter said, “In the book’s final chapter we wrote that Israelis can and should note the strengths identified by Arab thinkers — for example, the widely accepted notion that Israel’s democracy and rule of law can serve as a commendable model. We are very glad and proud that readers of Arabic will now be exposed to our book.”

“In one sense,” they observed, “the very fact that it has been translated, under the auspices of the Abraham Accords, confirms our thesis — that the Arab world’s stance toward Israel is more multidimensional than is commonly assumed.”

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