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Israeli Author’s Translator Gives Prize Money To Group Critical Of IDF

(JTA) — The translator of David Grossman’s 2017 Man Booker International Prize-winning novel, “A Horse Walks into a Bar,” donated half her winnings to a human rights watchdog group.

Jessica Cohen, who split the prize of $50,000 British pounds (approximately $64,000) with the celebrated Israeli novelist, gave half of her portion to B’Tselem, a Jerusalem-based organization that “endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories,” according to its website.

Cohen, who has also translated the works of Etgar Keret, among other Israeli writers, made the announcement Wednesday during her acceptance speech at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

“I’m not going to waste my breath hoping for change to come from the current Israeli administration, but I do hope that Israeli and Palestinian people can rekindle whatever shred of humanism and empathy they still have,” said Cohen, a Denver resident who was born in England and raised in Israel.

“A Horse Walks Into a Bar,” which was published in Israel in 2014 and released in English this year, is about the life of a failing Israeli standup comedian and his memories of past loves, Jerusalem’s Romema neighborhood and his Holocaust survivor parents. It is the first Israeli work to win the prestigious prize.

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