Another First: Israeli Book Hits Moroccan Shelves

This week we’re seeing another first that resulted from Israel and Morocco’s normalization agreement. The Israeli novel A Girl in a Blue Shirt has been translated into Arabic to be sold in Moroccan bookstores, a first in Morocco. The 2013 novel “tells the love story of an immigrant boy from Morocco and an Israeli-born girl who is in love with a Holocaust survivor,” according to The story is set in the early days of modern Israel when it saw many immigrants arrive from Morocco.

“I grew up in the town of Sefrou in Morocco until I immigrated to Israel at the age of 10,” recounted Gabriel Bensimhon, who authored the novel and is a professor at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University. “As an academic, I have studied Moroccan culture extensively. There was always a warm corner in my heart for the rich and multifaceted aspects that characterize the Moroccan culture. As a Moroccan Jew, I feel that I have come to realize a dream: the fact that my works are read in my hometown is a source of great personal pride.”

The warm and fuzzy relations between Israel and Morocco are only getting warmer and fuzzier with this news. This represents an extension from government cooperation to cooperation at a more basic level between ordinary citizens of the two nations. That should open the door not only for more shared business but also for actual, personal relationships among the people. It’s particularly fitting that news of this book about the Holocaust is announced today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day we remember the six million Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust and those who survived. As we strive to do every day, let’s continue to show love and support for our Jewish friends around the world.