Akko-based literary critic Antuan Shalaha t was amazed to discover a travel ban forbidding him from leaving the country out of concern for the State's security.
Shalahat, 59, a known literary critic who wrote dozens of books, received the decree, signed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is also acting interior minister, which stated that his leaving the country could harm the State's security.
"I'm amazed and hurt. This is he first time I've been notified in a letter, signed by the prime minister, that I will hurt the security of the State, that I would exploit my connections to make connections with hostile elements, and that I'm forbidden from leaving the country," said Shalahat.
"I couldn't believe it when I opened the letter – my only role is to write books, and I am also a literary critic. Why have they suddenly decided that I will try to harm the security of the country? I will try to change this evil edict this morning already."
The Prime Minister's Office said in response: "The decree forbidding Antuan from leaving the country was ordered due to a real concern that his travel abroad will be exploited to make connections with hostile elements in a way that could harm the security of the State."