LONDON – Author and Nobel laureate Gunter Grass has been admitted to a hospital in Germany’s northern port city of Hamburg due to heart problems, two weeks after the publication of a controversial poem criticizing Israel saw him barred from entering the Jewish state.
The Agence France Presse reported Grass’ hospitalization on Monday evening, citing an article due to be published Tuesday by the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.
The Associated Press, citing the Germany news agency dapd, reported that a Hamburg hospital had confirmed Grass was being treated, but gave no further details.
More from GlobalPost: Israel bans German writer Gunter Grass from entering country
The poem slams German arms sales to the Jewish state and says Israel must not be allowed to take military action against Iran over its nuclear program, further labelling Israel a threat to “already fragile world peace.”
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai's office released a statement denouncing Grass as “persona non grata in Israel," and called the poem "an attempt to fan the flames of hate against the state of Israel and the Israeli people," according to Agence France Presse.
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Tensions are running high in the Middle East over Iran's nuclear ambitions, and there is an ongoing debate in the US and Israel over whether to launch strikes again Tehran’s facilities should Iran continue to work toward creating nuclear weapons.
Grass is not the first public figure to be banned from entering Israel. In 2010 renowned professor and linguist Noam Chomsky was banned from entry to Israel following an attempt to deliver a lecture at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah.
Norman Finkelstein, also a Jewish professor, was arrested, deported, and banned from Israel for 10 years in 2008, GlobalPost reports.
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