It’s not every day that professional relationships are forged between academics in Israel and Egypt. This is why Professor Israel Knohl was both surprised and pleased to receive a message from Omar Zakaria, the head of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo. Zakaria, who speaks Hebrew fluently, turned to Knohl with a request to translate his bestselling book The Bible’s Genetic Code (published in Hebrew as Me’ayin Banu) to Arabic. The book traces the roots of the Jewish people and the Bible and includes a discussion of the Jewish people’s connection to the Egyptian nation.
Professor Knohl, a senior lecturer in the Bible Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, agreed to grant Zakaria the rights for translating his book and at Zakaria’s request assisted him in securing funding for the endeavor. Although Professor Knohl was unsuccessful in attaining this funding, Zakaria was nonetheless able to complete the translation and recently sent Professor Knohl a copy of his book in Arabic with a personal inscription.
The Bible’s Genetic Code was published in Hebrew in 2008 and received critical and popular praise. The book presents revolutionary answers to essential questions regarding the origins of the Jewish people and its culture.
This is not the first time that connections have been forged between scholars at the Hartman Institute and the Egyptian nation. During the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute, wrote a Letter to the Egyptian People in which he responded to the events happening in Egypt as an Israeli neighbor. He received dozens of responses to the letter from Egyptian citizens. This active dialogue not only sparked the interest of Hartman enthusiasts, but also that of numerous Israeli and foreign media.