Harry Potter’s Saturday Release Causes Dilemma in Israel

Uh oh.

The worldwide launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the wildly anticipated final instalment in the seven-book series, will occur at one minute past two in the morning this Saturday.

The problem for Jews is that this also marks the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.

And in Israel, the law requires most businesses to close.

But many bookstores say they will launch the book and be damned.

Israel’s biggest bookstore chain Steimatzky has declared it has no plan to change its launch schedule.

“We’re required by our agreement with the book’s publisher to launch the book at the same time as everywhere else in the world,” spokeswoman Alona Zamir said.

Attitudes like that have drawn fire from Orthodox Jewish lawmakers, including Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai, who’s threatened to fine any store that opens on Saturday.

Avraham Ravitz of the United Torah Judaism Party has also taken the Potter books to task for their “defective messages”.

“We don’t have to be dragged like monkeys after the world with this subculture, and certainly not while violating our holy Sabbath,” he said.