Israel's education ministry has rejected a request to include a novel about a romance between a Jew and an Arab for use by high schools in the country.

The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted a letter on Thursday written by education official Dalia Fenig as saying the book shouldn't be included because teens cannot grasp the "significance of assimilation". 

The ministry did not specifically articulate why Dorit Rabinyan's "Gader Haya" (literally "Hedgegrow," but known in English as "Borderlife") was excluded from the curriculum.  

It did mention, however, that there was a need to maintain "the identity and the heritage of students in every sector" and that "intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threatens the separate identity".

Teachers had requested that the book be included in the ministry's reading list but its content was deemed unfit for high school students.

"Borderlife", published in Hebrew by Am Oved is the story of Liat, an Israeli translator, and Hilmi, a Palestinian artist, who fall in love in New York, until they part ways for her to return to Tel Aviv and he to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

This year, the book won the coveted Bernstein Prize for young writers. 

According to Haaretz, Israel's education minister, Naftali Bennett, backed the book's rejection.

Source: Agencies