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Want to get your hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Jerusalem only hours after the worldwide release at midnight on Friday? You won't find it in west Jerusalem, not even at Steimatsky's.
Instead you will have to take a trip down Jerusalem's Diagon Alley, otherwise known as Salah A-Din Street in the east of the city and visit Imad Muna, owner of Educational Books, who is opening his store four hours earlier than usual, at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, to sell the last installment in the series. And Muna is willing to take pre-orders for those who do not handle money on Shabbat.
In fact, according to a Jerusalem Orthodox rabbi who asked not to be named, if Harry is paid for before Shabbat, no Jews work in the store, and the store did not open specifically for Jews, then it is permissible to walk there on Shabbat and get the book.
"I expect a lot of people from west Jerusalem," Muna told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Usually, he gets few Jewish customers, but he hopes that his stock of 120 Deathly Hallows will attract them. If a customer purchases the book in advance, he or she will be given a receipt to present on Saturday morning.
"I don't expect people to come at five o'clock in the morning," he added, "but I will open at five o'clock, [so I can] read it just like the rest of the world."
Muna won't even allow his son to read the book in advance. "He won't tell me where he stores them," Ahmad Muna told the Post.
Along with the 120 copies Muna has locked away, he also has five coveted copies in Arabic that he purchased from Egypt.
A select few stores in the Steimatsky's chain in Jerusalem will be opening from 9:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday night, which is 19 and a half hours after the global release.
One disgruntled Steimatsky's customer told the Post: "It sucks that the Jews get screwed and can't enjoy the furor at the same time as everyone else."
Despite the lack of availability in Jerusalem, there are a lot of book launching events happening in the rest of the country. For example, Steimatsky's is holding a party at the Tel Aviv Port beginning at midnight on Friday.
Steimatsky's also has many locations opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai of Shas is angry at the stores planning on selling the book during Shabbat. "We have information that in Tel Aviv they have built a specific center for this kind of happening that has been rented out to try and bring everyone to buy the book. If employees of the center refuse to work they could potentially lose their job," ministry officials said Thursday.
"What vendors should do is wait until after Shabbat," they said. "The law is that they can't work on Shabbat and if they do they get fined. However, stores usually make enough in 30 minutes on Shabbat to cover the cost of the fine, so they don't care."
Asked about whether Steimatsky's was afraid of being fined, Steimatsky's representative Alona Zamir told the Post: "Yishai was targeting our event at the port in Tel Aviv and the only thing we have to say about the issue is that we are contractually required by the publishers abroad to celebrate the release of the book at the same hour as the rest of the world. We want to be part of the world in this, and our customers have been waiting for the book and are excited."
Rory Kress contributed to this story.