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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Children’s book upsets ambassador

Israel’s ambassador to Norway is so upset over the content of a Norwegian children’s book, and its pending distribution in state libraries, that he’s warned the Norwegian government it could affect future cooperation between the two countries.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported over the weekend that Ambassador Michael Eligal sent a letter to Norway’s government minister in charge of cultural affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, complaining about the way Israel and its soldiers are portrayed in the book, called Pappa er sjørovar (Daddy is a pirate).

The story, by 64-year-old author and psychiatrist Hans Sande, is about a Norwegian girl and her father who drive through Europe to deliver water to Palestinians, but they encounter Israeli soldiers who don’t let them deliver it. The soldiers also accept bribes of alcohol and punch the father in the eye.

Eligal was especially upset that the book has been purchased by state libraries, claiming it spreads untruths and portrays Israeli soldiers as drunken bullies. He challenged whether that’s the picture Norway should give to the next generation, and added that “we can’t avoid wondering what this will mean for the future dialogue and cooperation between our two countries, when Norwegian children are taught that Israel is the evil part in a difficult conflict.”

Huitfeldt has not yet responded to Eligal’s letter and was unavailable for comment. “But we will answer next week,” said her adviser, Marius Bakke.

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