You also had problems finding a publisher for the Quranet Arabic edition. In the end it was published by Amazon.
Indeed. After someone kindly translated the book into Arabic for free, I really wanted it to be published. But the publishers I approached were afraid of doing so. It was not long after the Paris attacks in 2015. They thought that Arabs or Muslims wouldn‘t buy a book written in co-operation with a Jew. So they either didn‘t reply to my request or used all kinds of excuses.
How is the project viewed in Israel now?
The Jewish community is quite proud of the project, that is, apart from extremists from the religious right. For them the Koran is just worthless. But that is a minor issue. The foreign ministry promotes the co-operation between Jews and Arabs; the Israeli Presidential Conference chose to showcase and recognise the project in 2008.
Most Arabs in Israel like Quranet, too. For example, the Bedouins in the south of Israel who are very devout and still live a traditional life with their sheep and camels are very keen on Quranet. They invited me to give a lecture once, telling me: You might not know it, but you are a celebrity here, everyone knows you. For me that was very exciting.
You started Quranet in 2008 after some of your students of Bedouin descent told you they needed something from the Koran for their work because western psychology does not give the right answers for many situations. What about their experience ten years on?
Most of them are school counsellors today. They say that Quranet has provided them with the means to deal with many situations that previously seemed intractable. Quranet is used in most Arabic schools in Israel. But I get requests from all over the world. From Jordan, Saudi-Arabia, Egypt, even from Germany. People write about their problems with their children or students and ask which phrase from the Koran I would recommend.