As scholars now often insist that the "Dark Lady" of Shakespeare’s sonnets was Jewish, it is no surprise that two Israelis have offered a new translation into Hebrew – where many feel the poems truly belong!
With the perfect of timing of old stage pros, Avi Hasner and Gail Hareven have produced their work in near tandem with next year’s Globe Theatre Shakespeare Festival in London and the release of the film, Anonymous, which claims that the works were written by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
The work, edited by Haim Pesach and published by the Dvir Press, is a markedly original production as the authors are most unlikely partners.
Dr Hasner, deputy director of Ichilov Hospital, Tel Aviv, opened the first AIDS clinic in the United States and then another at Ichilov on his return home.
Gail Hareven’s background is quite different: Her mother is the Polish-born writer and journalist Shulamit Hareven while her father Aluf Hareven, born in Haifa and for many years in Israeli military intelligence, has become known for his work in promoting human and civil rights for Arab Israelis.
Hasner had worked on the translation for three years before he met Hareven through a mutual friend. Despite their professional clashes, they share a uniquely ‘Jewish’ view of Shakespeare:
Hareven suggests Shakespeare and the biblical Song of Songs attributed to King Solomon are the cultural basis upon which humanity learned to love.
“…I fell in love with the text in a way that was like being possessed by a dybbuk (demon). You're completely overwhelmed; it's as if an alien force completely takes over your brain. Diving into a line is a meditative experience," she says.