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Israel’s National Library cancels logo change after outcry

The new emblem was accused of a lack of connection to "the Jewish people, the State of Israel, Zionism or the Hebrew language."

Inside the National Library of Israel. Credit: Herzog & de Meuron; Mann-Shinar Architects, Executive Architect.
Inside the National Library of Israel. Credit: Herzog & de Meuron; Mann-Shinar Architects, Executive Architect.

The National Library of Israel announced Sunday that it is reverting back to its Israeli-flag-themed logo, after a public outcry that a planned change was detached from both Israel and Zionism.

The fury erupted after the library publicized its new logo last week featuring only the name in black font of the national library in Hebrew, Arabic and English, replacing the original rendition of a book in the colors of the Israeli flag.

One point of criticism leveled at the library immediately upon its announcement of the planned change was that the Hebrew wording of the new logo only stated “The National Library,” as opposed to the “National Library of Israel” as it does in Arabic and English.

The library responded, explaining that “first of all, it is our official name.

“In English and Arabic, there are a lot of national libraries across the world,” it said, therefore needing the specification of the library belonging to Israel. “While in Hebrew, there is one National Library—ours!”

‘Unfathomable’ decision

On Sunday, Education Minister Yoav Kisch sent a letter to the library’s director-general, Sallai Meridor, in which he blasted the “lack of any connection and identifiability to the Jewish people, the State of Israel, Zionism or the Hebrew language.

“The Hebrew language is no longer front-and-center,” Kisch lamented. “Additionally, the logo that represents the Israeli flag was erased.”

It is “unfathomable that the National Library would carry out actions to hurt the public trust in it and derail its ties to the State of Israel,” the minister wrote.

Following Kisch’s letter, the library released a statement on Facebook in which it said it would revert to the original logo following a “lengthy and important public debate.

“After a period of discussion and considerations in which we listened to the varying opinions and arguments, it was decided that the library would revert to its previous logo,” it announced.

The National Library of Israel is set to open in its new, much-expanded facility on Oct. 17, situated between the Knesset and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

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