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Israeli Publishers Relate Their Experiences at the International Book Fair in Cairo

– Israeli publishers who returned from displaying their publications at the international book fair in Cairo said today there were moments when they feared for their physical well-being.

Benzion Yehoshua, of the Hebrew University Magnes Press, said no policemen were visible when Palestine Liberation Organization supporters at a neighboring booth demonstrated with signs, reading: “Palestine is Arab.” On the following day guards were present and kept the Palestinians and leftwing Egyptian students some distance away.

Yehoshua said the Israelis displayed an Israeli flag on their stand, which was not strictly an Israeli stand but a display arranged by an Egyptian publisher, and did this only after the Palestinians had raised their own flags. The Israeli stand was then moved to the main international pavilion where much interest was shown in the Israeli books in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

The Israeli publishers thought the student demonstrations were less anti-Israel than a way of expressing opposition to President Anwar Sadat. Yehosua said one Egyptian called at the Israeli display to ask for a copy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in Hebrew “I don’t think it was a provocation. It seemed as though he had heard of the Protocals and simply wanted to see them in Hebrew,” Yehoshua said.

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