In continuing efforts to replace what’s left of Jerusalem’s Palestinian identity with a Jewish one, MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) has introduced a Knesset bill that would change the Arabic names of neighborhoods in Jerusalem to Hebrew names. According to the Jerusalem Post, MK Hotovely quoted Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, in her justification of the proposal.
Just as we do not recognize Arab political ownership of our land, we do not recognize their spiritual ownership, and we do not need their names, which give off the Arab scent
According to Ynet news, the proposal has enough support from the coalition and opposition to pass in the Knesset.
After extensive soul searching, I understood what the Knesset is trying to do. It is sending a message to the Arab minority that the path to acceptance in the Jewish state of Israel is through ditching our Palestinian identity. We must be willing to adopt a Jewish identity to become equal citizens.
Although the proposed bill graciously doesn’t ask Palestinians in Israel to change their names from Arabic to Hebraic ones, we should take the initiative ourselves as a proof of our commitment to the Jewish state of Israel. This is the only way to reduce the fear of those made paranoid by the existence of the Arab minority.
Those of us in East Jerusalem who don’t have Israeli citizenship at the moment must understand Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vision for Jerusalem. For the city to be truly united, we must undergo a major transformation. We must adapt to the Jewish identity of this land and prove our loyalty in every way possible. We should all march to the Ministry of Interior with formal requests to change our names.
And to all those who are unhappy about the new law, I must remind them that changing the names of Arab towns is not a racist act against Palestinians. When Ethiopian Jews started immigrating to Israel they were required to change their names to Hebrew ones. Israel has actually been more gracious and patience with its Arab minority. Its patience goes so far that it never formally required Arabs to change their names and adopt a Jewish identity. But it surely hoped they would do so on their own.
With this positive spirit of change and transformation in Israel, I have decided to start searching for a suitable Jewish name for myself. What in your opinion would be the best change from Aziz Abu Sarah? Please post your suggestion on the comments section of 972mag.com