Moti Yogev’s ‘muezzin law’ is yet another step toward creating a public atmosphere that could lead to expelling Arabs from Israel.
By Abed Abu Shehadeh
As it does every year, the sounds of the muezzin reached the Knesset this past week. Last time it was Yisrael Beiteinu’s Anastasia Michaeli who brought the “muezzin law” before the Knesset; this time it was MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home). The dangerous bill, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, leaves little room for the imagination: “Houses of worship will be forbidden from using loudspeakers to call the worshippers to prayer or to transmit religious, national or sometimes inciting messages.” Yogev is the same member of Knesset who cares so much about the public interest that he previously proposed bulldozing Israel’s High Court of Justice. After all, why would the public need to defend itself from the tyranny of the regime once Yogev’s Jewish Home party gets into power?
Cynicism aside, time and again we have heard these kinds of remarks by Jewish Home MKs, and each time we have been astounded by the degree of ignorance and cruelty that has come to characterize the party: from Bezalel Smotrich, who does not believe a single Arab passed the psychometric entrance exams, to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who gloated about killing Arabs during his military career.
Regardless of the ease with which we automatically pay attention to their comments, this law could not have even been proposed in the first place had it not received widespread public support, as part of a continuing attempt by Jewish Israeli society to mold the public sphere in its image. Or as Yogev put it: for the sake of “the quality of life of the state’s citizens” (as a military man, Yogev must know that should the bill pass, there would be massive demonstrations across the country that could actually harm the public’s “quality of life”). Therefore, it is clear to all that the main impetus for such a law is the feeling of supremacy of Israel’s Jewish citizens, such that the only their religious symbols are acceptable.
What is astounding to Arab society about this public discussion is not that we were caught off guard, but rather that the entire is issue is foreign to us: in Jaffa, especially in the Arab neighborhoods, there exists an Arab social fabric that includes both Christians and Muslims. Never did we imagine Jaffa...Read More