07/18/2007, 00.00
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Harry Potter book launch to violate Sabbath

The last in the famed book series will go on sale at night simultaneously around the world. Israel’s industry minister slams the timing for violating Sabbath, pledges fines for bookstores that break the rule.

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour Eli Yishai threatened to fine bookstores holding special sale events on Saturday for the launch of the final instalment in the Harry Potter series. The release of the new book is scheduled for midnight (London time), but will take place simultaneously around the world. Till then no libraries are allowed to sell it.

In Israel bookstores announced that they will start selling the English version as of 2:01 am Saturday morning. Thousands are expected to attend the events.

According to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahnoroth, the minister wants the release to be pushed back to Friday morning or forward until after Shabbat.

“We must put a limit on the desire to imitate other countries. It is inconceivable that numerous employees will be brought in to allow these events to take place and damage the spirit of Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest). I plan to file charges and fine anyone who violates the Hours of Work and Rest Law,” Yishai said.

The release of the seventh and last book in the series has been well-staged for maximum exposure and has generated great interest among the millions of readers and fans of the adventures of the little boy magician.

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