For then will I turn to the people a pure language—Zephaniah 3:9
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Not all censorship relates to security issues. Religious censorship is also common, especially through State-run lists determining one's religious affiliation. This determines rights from the State, and debts toward it. It determines how one is born, marries and dies. Changing that is practically impossible. Yet, when it reaches ridicule, hiding the charade is impossible. The left picture above shows a snapshot taken from Shironet, a commercial Israeli website offering lyrics of Hebrew songs and poetry. It shows their rendering of a poem by Yehuda Amichai, who is considered by many to be the most prestigious Hebrew poet of the 20th century. Next to it is a scan of the same song as written by the poet. I won't translate it out of mercy towards my readers, just let me say that the word "God" as written by this secular person, was changed in the website to fit the preferences of Ultra-Orthodox Jews ("elokim" instead of "elohim").
A related testimony of how serious the situation is the company itself. Founded in 2002, the following year it signed an agreement with AKUM (see later), and in 2012, it was purchased by Mako. After the sabotage was published by the Israeli mainstream media on February 28, 2013, Mako claimed that the error predates their ownership and that they have no way of checking out when it was committed. Morover, they had the insolence to say that they cannot perform a check on hundreds of thousands of documents that they publish in their website; they don't need to because the establishment won't touch them. Apparently, this went on for years with nobody noticing. Censorship of prominent authors is easy when people's access to information is controlled by the state. Israel has created the parallel of Newspeak, the new formal language introduce by Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984. Yet, most of the world considers this oppressive state a democracy. I'm impressed by the skill shown by my Big Brother.
On March 1, Yediot Aharonoth published an article titled "Unfree Translation," by Yotam Schwimmer, which analyzes the translation of foreign books to Hebrew. Relatively few books are translated every year (several hundred), and mainly from English, French, German and Russian. Every year a few "exotic" books are translated; oddly, the term "exotic" was specifically expanded to Indian, Greek, Albanian, and Japanese. Dorit Akerling from "Keren [ray, horn] Publishers," said that her decision what to publish originates on recommendations and her assessment of which books will sell best. This situation is reported by most publishers; even those who claim that their enterprises "are not commercial" (for example Nahar Books, and the "New Library") admit having personal agendas in their choices. Serious anti-Zionist literature is never translated. Books portraying the Palestinian side of the conflict have no chance of being considered, unless they create an unfavorable image (see Israelis say: "A Good Arab is a Dead Arab"). Books offering alternative, non-Zionist explanations of events are not translated. Israeli citizens live in an anti-Babel, purposely isolated by their oppressive government from what happens in the world. Netanyahu may say: "I've been chosen democratically, and I can declare war;" what he means is, "I have isolated and then manipulated the People."
+ Exodus 34:29-30 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
++ I grew up in a kibbutz in the Valley, the situation there was so frightening, that the only critique we dared to utter was, "work is our life, but not for us" ("haavoda eeh chayeynu, ach lo bishbileinu"). In other words, "we are slaves." So many years after I left, it still sounds to me like a frightening variation on Nazi "Arbeit macht frei" ("work makes [you] free").
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