An Arabic-Hebrew Literary Space grew out of a research group of Jewish Israelis and Palestinian citizens of Israel who met at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute in 2009–2010 to study Palestinian literature together. The Palestinian appearance in the Hebrew language has turned into a significant presence in Hebrew literature. Discussing it together enabled all the group’s members, both Palestinians and Jews, to create a shared linguistic and literary space. In so doing, they shared a riven space filled with voids and contradictions—Homi K. Bhabha’s “Third Space,” which transforms the asymmetry into a question and a problem that is challenged again and again simply because it is a shared space.
Most of the chapters in the volume were written by members of the group. They deal with sections from Palestinian literature and the encounter of Palestinian literature with Hebrew literature. If one accepts the argument that every text is actually a translation, one may say that the chapters in this volume—both those that deal directly with the praxis of translation and those that deal in Hebrew with translated Palestinian texts—delimit, each in its own way, the political and cultural meanings of the texts that are read, in other words, translated, from Palestinian literature to Hebrew literature.