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Ben-Gurion University
IAM Friday special: Ben Gurion University responses to allegations made on Al-Jezeera and Ynet titled "Israel distroyed Palestinian books"

IAM Friday special announcement

Faye Bittker, The Director of Department of Publications and Media Relations, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev responses to allegations made on Al-Jezeera and Ynet titled "Israel distroyed Palestinian books":


As I have said before, there is no thesis or story under the Al-Jeezera title. There is a student doing his PhD on the topic of the National Library and University, 1945-1955, which looks at the way the early State dealt with collection of books, including those from the Holocaust, those of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries and those of the Palestinians after the War of Independence. (this is a loose translation.)  


The paper in question  (to which, apparently the Al Jeezera was referring to) examines how the members of the Hebrew University and the Library staff devoted themselves to collecting Palestinian books in order to save them. Given that the thesis is a serious academic work still in progress, which is as far removed from the statements published in Al Jeezera as one can think of, we have no further comment.


I would also add that IAM’s insistence on posting that anything negative reported on the Internet about Israeli academia in general, and BGU in particular, regardless of the source, only supports our position not to take you seriously, and therefore BGU will no longer address your inquiries.




Faye Bittker


Department of Publications and Media Relations

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Phone: 972-8-646-1753

Cell: 972-52-879-5863







Researcher: Israel destroyed Palestinian books

Tens of thousands of Palestinian books destroyed after Israel's establishment, Ben-Gurion University researcher says

Ynet Published:  01.28.10, 20:59 / Israel News 


Israel plundered and destroyed tens of thousands of Palestinian books in the years after the State's establishment, according to a doctoral thesis to be submitted next month by a Ben-Gurion University researcher.


In an interview with the researcher published on al-Jazeera's website Thursday, he claimed that Israel destroyed the Palestinian books in the framework of its plan to "Judaize the country" and cut off its Arab residents from their nation and culture.


According to the doctoral dissertation, Israeli authorities collected tens of thousands of Arab books in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Safed, and other towns that were home to Arabs. Israeli officials proceeded to hand out about half the books, while destroying the second half, characterizing them as a "security threat," the researcher said.


In his al-Jazeera interview, the researcher claimed that, based on Israeli archives, IDF troops plundered the books from the homes of Palestinians expelled during the "Nakba" and handed them over to authorities. The State proceeded to establish a library in Jaffa and other towns for the books, he said.


'Cultural massacre'
The researcher told al-Jazeera that according to documents he possesses, Israel destroyed 27,000 books in 1958, claiming that they were useless and threatened the State. Authorities sold the books, most of them textbooks, to a paper plant, he said.


"This was a cultural massacre undertaken in a manner that was worse than European colonialism, which safeguarded the items it stole in libraries and museums," the researcher charged.


He added that some books were sold at discounted prices to Arab schools, while the others were transferred to the Hebrew University's library in Jerusalem.


The researcher estimated that about 6,000 Palestinian books are currently available at the National Library at Hebrew University. However, he claimed that many other books in Arabic, English, and French were not recorded, charging that most of them are being held in the library's warehouses and cannot be accessed.


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