Jewish Journal

Sell ‘Potter’ on Shabbat, get fined!

by Adam Wills

July 18, 2007 | 12:03 am

This Saturday’s worldwide launch of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and supposedly final book in J.K. Rowling’s popular children’s series, will take place at 2:01 a.m. in Israel. Since it’s happening on Shabbat, Orthodox Israeli lawmakers are having apoplectic fits about bookstores staying open on the day of rest to take part in the Potter-mania. In fact, Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai is threatening to fine stores that sell the book before Shabbat ends.

“Israeli law forbids businesses to force their employees to work on the Sabbath, and that applies in this case as well. The minister will fine and prosecute any businesses which violate the law,” Shas Party spokesman Roei Lachmanovich said.

Steimatzky, Israel’s largest bookstore chain, says it’s bound by an agreement with the publisher to launch the book at the same time as the rest of the world.

The book being sold in Israel will be written in English, while a Hebrew translation is expected at the end of the year.

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