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Photo: Sarah Avital
Poet Natan Zach
Photo: Sarah Avital
Poet Zach: Israel apartheid state
Leading Israeli poet says he wishes to join Gaza flotilla; 'if I were better swimmer, I would swim to Gaza,' he says

The Knesset is on the offensive as one of Israel's leading poets has announced his intent to join the next flotilla to Gaza.

 

Natan Zach condemned the government and said he was willing to join activists attempting to reach Gaza via flotillas. He added that while visiting Germany, he witnessed a huge rally where Israel was labeled as an "apartheid state."

 

"I do not wish to live in such state," he said.

 

Zach told Ynet that he did not understand why his statements caused such uproar.

 

"I would like to remind everybody that my opinions haven't changed over the last 20 years. When I returned from England in 1978, I stated on television that I would never cross the Green Line, visit there and that I don't wish my books to be sold there. I will never stand on occupied territory."

 

Zach condemned the government and expressed his concern that it would lead Israel to war and bloodshed.

 

"I don't wish to see more people killed for no reason. If I were a better swimmer, I would swim to Gaza. There are things that need to be done, like the release of Gilad Shalit, but we have boosted the jihad with our refusals" he said.

 

'I don't care much about Arabs'

Zach further explained that in his opinion, the only possible solution to the current situation is to see "the Israeli people wake up, the current government falls, and a government of peace is established in its place – to save ourselves, not the Arabs. I don't care much about the Arabs. How can we take on the entire Arab world for eternity?" he said.

 

In response, Knesset Member Miri Regev (Likud) called for Zach's poems to be removed from Israel's high school exams if he does in fact participate in a flotilla to Gaza. She told Ynet that "We do not wish for Israel's students to take exams that include the poetry of a man with double standards" and added that she brought the issue to the attention of Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

 

The Ministry of Education's response to MK Regev's appeal was that "the high school curriculum was constructed by professional committees, which include academic experts and experienced teachers. The committees, including the literature curriculum committee, select the materials based on professional considerations."

 

Roni Sofer contributed to the report

 

 

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