Page 114 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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immediate market response. It is possible to assume then that
very few voices are fueling the “public” outcry.
In the years between 1964 and 1974 at least ten books were
published for children about Israel each year, with a high in 1968
(twentieth anniversary of statehood). Since 1974 only a trickle of
titles have appeared (Figure 4). The most recent volumes are
translations from Hebrew, stories that take place in Israel, rather
than offering outside perspective. Why has there been waning
interest in publishing about Israel since 1973? Does it parallel a
media shift from early portrayal of Israel as the “good guys” to a
present critical appraisal? Whatever the reason, there is little that
talks to modern Israel, its people and its events. Most of the early
stories focused upon historical and biblical underpinnings, then
the birth of the state. Some titles have been translations of He­
brew publications, stories in which life in the kibbutz was detailed,
with its hardships and its values. Rarely has there been an accu­
rate picture for children of the complexity and reality of modern
life outside the kibbutz. Few portraits are available of a hetero-
Figure 4