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Demoting Arabic: Knesset finally tells the truth

On its way to passing a law that would remove Arabic’s status as Israel’s second official language, the Knesset is simply acknowledging the second-class status of Arabs in Israel.

The Israeli Knesset is on a roll. First, it passes the anti-boycott bill. Now, it’s considering changing the status of Arabic from the state’s second official language into the language of the state’s second class citizens.

I’ll say now what I felt about the anti-boycott law: the Knesset should pass the legislation so the world will understand what it’s really dealing with.

Arabic might have been the second official language all these years but few Jewish Israelis speak it. NGOs have had to wage legal battles to get Arabic on the street signs funded and posted by the state. For example, when Adalah filed a petition in 1998 regarding the use of Arabic on national road signs, over 80% of those signs “were posted solely in Hebrew and English; Arabic appeared, if at all, only on signs posted near Arab localities.”

How many times has an Arabic speaker with weak Hebrew gone into a government office and not been able to get the help they need? How many times have they been faced with forms that come in Hebrew only?

And how have those who speak the second official language of the state fared in Israeli courts? I might add that I sat in on a Supreme Court hearing in January and watched a Palestinian man struggle to articulate himself to the judges in Hebrew, not in the second official language, his mother tongue, Arabic. There was no translator present.

This legislation would formalize the sentiment that has surfaced in a Yafo (Jaffa) school, where a principal has forbidden Palestinian citizens of Israel from speaking Arabic amongst each other.

The law, as disturbing as it is, is a step towards honesty. Perhaps it will also serve as a wake-up call to those who, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, are still holding on to the belief that a Jewish and democratic state is possible.

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    1. Sylvia

      Please provide evidence that Arabic has ever been an official language in Israel since the founding of the state.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Deïr Yassin

      For decades the Hasbara has tried to convince the world that the ‘Israeli Arabs’ had equal rights, and one of their favorite talking points was the “Arabic is an official language-blahblah”.
      Now that the institutionalization of ethnic discrimination is evident to everyone, that the proto-fascist government doesn’t even try to hide their projects of ethnocide or even better: massive expulsion, the Hasbara changes too, and we get the ‘prove that Arabic was ever an official language’.

      It would of course be easier if Israel actually had a constitution as the rest of the ‘civilized’ world, but, yes, Arabic is an official language of Israel, and that since the creation of the State.

      Chief Justice Barak noted in a court ruling the fact that Arabic is an official language pursuant to the Palestine Order-in-Council of 1922.
      In this Adalah-report, there’s link to ‘supreme court decision of 25 July 2002’
      http://www.adalah.org/eng/legaladvocacycultural.php

      There’s also this report from Adalah:
      http://www.adalah.org/newsletter/eng/oct06/ar2.pdf
      “Despite Arabic being legally recognized as an official language of Israel” it states in the beginning.

      You could also just google, and the articles on the matter are abundants. Still, with a constitution, AND borders, everything would be a little more clear.
      Wonder why bills are presented to strip Arabic of it’s status if it never had one in the first place:
      http://www.forward.com/articles/13577/

      Reply to Comment
    3. Theresa

      Sylvia, I’m not certain what the Western Europe democracies do in such situations, but in Canada, French and English must be on all packaged items, and governmental and banking forms must be available in both languages.

      In America, English, Mexican-Spanish and Canadian French are all found on packaged items. Depending on the region, government and banking forms must be available in the prevailing languages or readily available (with computers, a snap).

      In courts, court-paid interpreters must be provided when needed be the language Hebrew, Spanish, French or Arabic. It takes a interpreter as nothing must be interpreted other than strictly as it is said, something that a family member or a regular bilingual person might do in most if not all cases.

      A person who could only speak broken English will be offered an interpreter at court expense as otherwise someone could end up in jail or facing a fine. Or even if making an application to a court for relief or a restraining order or application of enforcement for unpaid child support, etc.

      A DEMOCRACY. Democracies are where people are accorded the right to equal representation under the law, and discrimination is shown where significant portions of populace speak only their native tongue adequately.

      On the coast of Texas, that means Vietnamese. In the Northwest, it might mean one of the many Indian tribes or it could mean East Indians.

      What is done in other DEMOCRACIES? I think that is a crucial issues for in America, Israel’s “best friend” and major supporter and defender, only the oldest and most isolationist. These still may very well include those who deny that any American citizen or permanent legal resident should have any rights to their own language – or that they should be allowed to have someone help them understand a ballot in order to vote (similar to if they were illiterate or blind).

      When I was in elementary, I attended a school where whites were in the distinct minority – but they were not allowed to speak their own language in public schools, even in the rest rooms, in the lunch room or on the playground. When you are speaking of Children Breaking Rules, that means punishments are imposed.

      I was in the minority. You could have been in the minority. Think on it.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Theresa

      THIS IS AN IMPROVED POST – I noticed several totally butchered (in-complete or totally incomprehensible) “sentences” – as I corrected, I did a bit more editing (my weakness). I hope you can replace my prior post with this one -minus this note to you, of course. Thank you.

      >>I’m not certain what a Western Europe Democracy do in such situations, but in Canada, French and English must be on all packaged items, and governmental and banking forms must be available in both languages.

      >>In America, English, Mexican-Spanish and Canadian French are on all packaged items near Canada, English and Spanish elsewhere, perhaps other languages in other portions of the country. Depending on the region, government and banking forms must be available in the prevailing languages or readily available (with computers, a snap).

      >>In courts, public-paid interpreters must be provided when needed for defendants or petitioners for relief, be the language Hebrew, Spanish, French or Arabic. It takes a interpreter as nothing must be paraphrased or condensed or “said better”. It must only be interpreted strictly as it is said, something that a family member or a regular bilingual person might do in most if not all instances.

      >>A person who could only speak broken English will be offered an interpreter at court expense as otherwise someone could end up in jail or facing a fine. Or even if making an application to a court for relief such as for a restraining order or application of enforcement for unpaid child support, etc.

      >>A DEMOCRACY. Democracies are where people are accorded the right to equal protection under the law as well as equal rights, to be protected by the force of law.

      >>On the coast of Texas, that means Vietnamese. In the Northwest, it might mean one of the many Indian tribes or it could mean East Indians.

      >>What is done in other democracies? I don’t know. But I hope others here can chime in. I think relegating what will soon be the majority population (Palestinians, as in the US, Mexican-Americans will rather soon be in the majority population) is a crucial issue.

      >>In America, Israel’s best friend and major supporter and defender, only the oldest and most isolationist of persons think still in such reactionary manners. These are the persons who are in favor of proposing and passing laws that impose “lesser citizenship” on a portion of the citizens.

      >>In the US, there are those who deny that any American citizen or permanent legal resident should have any rights to their own language – that they must all be forced or coerced into speaking excellent English.. They don’t think non-English speakers should be allowed to have someone help them understand a ballot in order to vote (similar to if they were illiterate or blind or who speak only in sign-language).

      >>When I was in elementary, I attended a school where whites were in the distinct minority – but they were not allowed to speak their own language in public schools, even in the rest rooms, in the lunch room or on the playground. When you are speaking of Children Breaking Rules, that means punishments are imposed.

      >>I was white. I was a minority. You could be in the minority. Think on it.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Sylvia

      Who is talking about rights? Of course there are rights, Arabis is mandatory at public schools, there are schools entirely in Arabic financed by the Ministry of education, instructions for exams are in both Hebrew and Arabic, all this legally, paid for by the israeli government. But I think you are missing the point.
      >
      I aam taking issue with the word:”demoted”. Arabic has legal standing in Israel (otherwise there couldn’t have been funding for it), second to Hebrew which is the official language grounded in the Basic Law (Constitution). In practice, Arabic has the status of an official language, it is legally recognized, but not included in the Constitution. What the bill is proposing is to have it anchored in the Basic law as a “special status” language. That is not to demote it.
      .
      Take for instance the countries of North Africa, where French is widely spoken, where practically all the forms and documents are in French. Everybody thinks – and says – that French is “an official language next to Arabic” in say, Algeria, Morocco, etc. But you can go look at their constitutions, Arabic is the sole official language mentioned, not even special status is granred to French. And take the Western Sahara, where Spanish is widely s;poken. Spanish is not as much as mentioned in the Moroccan Constitution either.
      .

      There is good reason for that: Arabic is more than just a language, it is a major component of a national identity which makes ther individual part of the Arab nation which shares more or less common political aspirations (at least against Israel).
      .
      Is going from a de facto second official language not mentioned in the Basic Law to a de jure “special status” language enshrined in the Basic Law a demotion? I am not sure of that.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Michael W.

      Sylvia, Arabic has always been an official language of Israel, as well as Hebrew. The following link is the transcript of a 2000 Supreme Court ruling (Hebrew only):

      http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files/99/120/041/a10/99041120.a10.HTM

      Or you can just check wikipedia.

      Didn’t Kadima withdraw support for the bill?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Deïr Yassin

      Sylvia (first comment): “Please provide evidence that Arabic has ever been an official language”.

      Sylvia/second comment: “In practice, Arabic has the status of an official language. It’s LEGALLY recognized, but not included in the constitution”.
      Maybe someone cound translate that to de-hasbarized English.

      How come in a couple of hours Sylvia went from asking a proof of Arabic as an official language to now saying “it’s legally recognized”. And once again, of course it’s not included in the constitution. Israel has no constitution.

      Another common Hasbara-trick: speak about the same topic elsewhere (hoping that people know just as little about it as yourself).
      Sylvia writes about Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco:
      “where practically all the forms and documents are in French”. Simply NOT true. Sylvia hasn’t been to the Maghreb for the last 20 years, I guess.
      She continues: “Everybody thinks – and say – that French is an official language next to Arabic”. Well, I don’t know anybody who says or thinks so. That must be something Sylvia just invented to make her point whatever that is. Or someone who’s still lingering in colonial nostalgia ….

      In Tunisia, Arabic is the only official language de jure. In Algeria too, but Berber (Tamazight) has the status of “national language” since 2002, and in Morocco according to the new constitution, adopted by the Moroccans through vote on July 1st 2011, Arabic and Tamazigh (Rifain, Tachelhit and Tamazight) are the official languages.
      Well, Sylvia could now move on to 1) the national languages of Scandinavia – we know she’s a specialist on Norway 2) the national languages of India 3) the national languages of Baidastan…

      Reply to Comment
    8. annie

      “anchored in the Basic law as a “special status” language. That is not to demote it.”

      how special sylvia? how anchored? and when you remove road signs in arabic how is this not a demotion? maybe ‘special’ to sylvia means ‘so special’ we made a special law for it like the boycott law.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Taoist

      @Annie,

      Sylvia provides the official Lieberman’s hasbara line, in which the world is seen in reverse. Since, according to her, Arabic was never an official language, erasing it from Israel is not a “demotion,” in spite of the Arab population in Israel, which will be FORCED to learn Hebrew, even to drive around. It is one more step in the creation of the “Jewish state” (sic!), in which the trampling of the rights of Arabs citizens will become official. The apartheid state rearing its ugly head, once more.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    10. alfonz

      In France you have whole communities that are arab,and speak mostly arabic at home,yet no arab street signs.In my Germany we have many people that can’t speak the language yet we don’t make any great effort to help them,we tell them to learn German.In most European countries this is how it works.By the way in Germany you will never become a citizen unless you can prove that you can read and write in German.As far as I know Israel is one of the few countries in the world that has citizens that can hardly speak Hebrew.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Mitchell Cohen

      Alfonz, my politics aside, I think the status quo for Arabic speakers should remain. The street signs should have Arabic on them (as well as English), the Arabic speaking schools should stay open, and Arabic speakers should have full access to all services in Israel in their mother-tongue. In all fairness, the 20% of Israeli population that is Arab were here before the founding of Israel (this does NOT negate Zionism IMO), not to be compared with immigrants that just came to Germany (and the rest of Europe) yesterday. That being said, if the Arabs do not make an effort to learn Hebrew, they will lose out on a lot of opportunities in Israel (like University). This is not prejudice, but just a fact. So, the Arabic speaking schools should incorporate a certain number of hours in their schools for learning Hebrew (for THEIR sakes). Regarding your last statement, one can walk blocks and blocks in New York and other major cities in America and not come across a single soul who speaks English.

      Reply to Comment
    12. alfonz

      Cohen,the state of Germany was founded in 1871.There were many people living in in this area that were not German speaking of origin,yet their “mother tongues” have no status in the country,official or otherwise.
      Almost every modern nation had a population of some sort that spoke a different language,yet they were forced into speaking the national language.Go to Brazil and try and find street signs in língua geral paulista.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_geral

      Reply to Comment
    13. Michael S

      It was, as stated, Mandate policy to have English, Arabic and Hebrew as official languages. Slyvia can say what she wants, just look at the money:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_pound

      or, even the trilingual road signs…That is if she’s ever been to Israel.

      She’s certainly not very knowledgeable about Israel’s history given ISTR she claimed that the IDF were a defensive force because they had the word ‘Defense’ in their acronym, as though being formed out the Haganah had nothing to do with it!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Koshiro

      “Cohen,the state of Germany was founded in 1871.There were many people living in in this area that were not German speaking of origin,yet their “mother tongues” have no status in the country,official or otherwise.”
      Yes, but these areas (Poznan, parts of East and West Prussia, Alsace-Lorraine etc.) are not part of Germany anymore. Pretending that 1871 borders and policies are the same as in 2011 is rather pointless.

      There are indigenous national minorities of Danish speakers and Sorbian speakers in Germany. These minorities are tiny compared to the Israeli Arab minority, but their languages are supported and their national identities protected by considerable efforts of the federal and state governments. I can guarantee you if Arabs in Israel received the same support that Sorbs and Danes receive in 2011 Germany, they’d rejoice.

      I’d advise you to inform yourself better on the history and politics of your own country before making misleading comparisons based on faulty knowledge.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Sylvia

      Deir Yassin
      I think you are simply confusing “legally” (in judicial terms” with “constitutionally” (written in Basic Law).
      I’ve translated the paragraph below from Dichter especially for you. Regarding Tamazight, you make a good point which I’ll adress in a later post.
      .
      Dichter:
      “Language:
      The purpose is to anchor [in Basic law] the existing legal status. Contrary to what people wrongly believe, Arabic is not an official language in Israel. Although note 82 amended by the British High Commissioner determines that Arabic is an official language, the legislator has cancelled this status in practice by removing laws that exclude from the Arabic equal status (e.g. criminal procedure law, military jurisdiction law and civil procedure regulations). Supreme Court Judge Branson also stated that the status of Arabic as an official language is void its cancellation being due to “changes dictated by the founding of the State as a Jewish State”. Most Supreme Court justices, including Barak, have avoided basing their rulings pertaining to language matters on an official status of the Arabic language, but rather on the need to be sensitive to the needs of Arab citizens of linguistic accessibility – a necessity of which this bill is aware by granting “special status” to the Arabic language.”
      .

      שפה:
      מדובר בעיגון המצב המשפטי הקיים. בשונה ממה שאנשים טועים לחשוב הערבית אינה שפה רשמית בישראל. אמנם סימן 82 שתיקן הנציב העליון הבריטי קובע שהערבית שפה רשמית אך המחוקק ביטל מעמד זה בפועל בהסרת חוקים השוללים מהערבית את מעמדה השוויוני (למשל חוק סדר הדין הפלילי, חוק השיפוט הצבאי ותקנות סדר הדין האזרחי). שופט בית המשפט העליון ברנזון אף הצהיר שמעמדה של הערבית כשפה רשמית בטל בהיות ביטולו נובע “מהשינויים המחוייבים מהקמת המדינה כמדינה יהודית”. מרבית שופטי בית המשפט העליון, לרבות ברק, נמנעו מלבסס פסקי דין בענייני שפה על מעמד רשמי של השפה הערבית אלא רק על צורך להתחשב בצרכיהם של אזרחים ערבים לנגישות לשונית – צורך שהצעת חוק זו ערה לו בקביעת “מעמד מיוחד” לשפה הערבית

      s

      Reply to Comment
    16. Sylvia

      “but rather on the need to be sensitive to the needs of Arab citizens of linguistic accessibility”= I think “but rather on the need to consider Arab citizens’ need for linguistic/language accessibility” would be more coherent.
      I am not sure what it means either.

      Reply to Comment
    17. directrob

      Sylvia,
      So the purpose of the bill is to confirm that Arabic is actually no longer an official language.
      .

      Reply to Comment
    18. Alfonz

      The internet is full of lazy intellectuals(laugh).If one were to go back two thousand years and have a listen to the languages being spoken one would likely hear Aramaic,Hebrew,Latin,and Greek.
      We have zero reference to the Arabic language being spoken in what is today Israel,two thousand years ago.In other words,Arabic is not indigenous to this part of the world,and thus must be viewed as the language of the colonizer.
      Arabs gained control of this territory called Israel at around 700 AD.The distance traveled by the Arabs from what is today Saudi Arabia to Israel is almost the same distance as Israel is to Greece.
      The Greeks would clearly be seen as foreign occupiers,so why not the Arabs?It is simply because intellectuals(laughs again) tend to become very lazy when dealing with this subject,and often view the middle east as some backwater of Arabia.Israel’s can be very proud of themselves for treating a very hostile minority,one that often sides with Israel’s enemies in a civil way.The system is hardly perfect,but better than any I have seen.Do Arabs show such respect to non-Arabs in their countries?When European powers were faced with what they perceived as a hostile minority how did they behave?
      Point me the way to a country anywhere that is in a state of war in which its minorities often side with the enemy,and where that country treats its minorities with civility.This is not hasbara,this is reality,and failing to find examples of better behaving countries in similar circumstance,while pointing a constant finger at just one country,expecting it to somehow behave differently is either deceitful or lazy intellectualism at best(smiles).

      Reply to Comment
    19. Sylvia

      I thought it would be useful to look at this language question in a larger Israel-Palestine context, so here is the pertinent passage in the Palestinian Constitution (revised 2007)
      .
      .

      “Article (5)
      Arabic and Islam are the official Palestinian language and religion. Christianity and all other monotheistic religions shall be equally revered and respected
      .

      Article (2)
      Palestine is part of the Arab nation. The state of Palestine abides by the charter of the League of Arab States. The Palestinian people are part of the Arab and Islamic nations. Arab unity is a goal, the Palestinian people hopes to achieve.
      .
      Article (7)
      The principles of Islamic Shari’a are a major source for legislation. Civil and religious matters of the followers of monotheistic religions shall be organized in accordance with their religious teachings and denominations within the framework of law, while preserving the unity and independence of the Palestinian people”
      .
      http://www.mideastweb.org/palconstitution.htm

      Reply to Comment
    20. Koshiro

      “If one were to go back two thousand years and have a listen to the languages being spoken one would likely hear Aramaic,Hebrew,Latin,and Greek.”
      What the foxtrot does that have to do with anything?
      2000 years ago, none of the languages now in use existed in any form still intelligble today. So we just scrap them all?

      “When European powers were faced with what they perceived as a hostile minority how did they behave?”
      Depends on which European power you mean. I really, really don’t think we want to apply Germany’s past behaviour as a standard here.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Sylvia

      sorry revised 2003

      Reply to Comment
    22. Deïr Yassin

      @ Sylvia
      And I think you’re simply adapting your talking-points every time someone comes up with an argument or proofs that go against your claims.
      What I do perceive: while the Arab world is opening up, including other languages in their constitution (in Morocco pharmaceutical products are already labelled in Tamazight in some areas only one month after the new constitution I’ve been told), Israel is going the other way.
      Irhal – dégage: From Tunis to Tel Aviv !

      And between the statements by Dichter – may they be in Arabic or not – and the court rulings by Chief Justice Barak that I posted above, my choice is made on who’s correct and who’s not. I don’t have much confidence in the Israeli court system, but Aharon Barak is not the worst one around.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Sylvia

      “Irhal – dégage: From Tunis to Tel Aviv !”
      but not from Algiers to Tel Aviv, eh?
      Oh, I know why: That’s exactly what the Algerians told the Jews in 1962!

      Reply to Comment
    24. Deïr Yassin

      ‘From Tunis to Tel Aviv’: because it started in Tunis, and because it sounded good.
      “From Casa to Beirut, passing throughh Algiers, Amman, Damascus and Riyadh. Not to forget Ramallah and Baghdad”.

      Yeah, we know the Judeo-centric pathology of many. The Jews of Algeria were French citizens, they didn’t cry over that when as the only indigenous population they were granted French citizenship in 1870 (through communautarian lobbying) with all the privileges that came along, and they thus left with the French !
      Another red herring, you say ? That’s part of the job description I guess.
      Maybe you should go for the national languages of China: good talking-point for the Hasbara.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Sylvia

      “Jews of Algeria were French citizens”
      the knee-jerk well-rehearsed oft repeated response. Because there were no Muslims who were French citizens, starting with the post-revolution leadership who fought for France and were trained in French military academies? Boumedienne was not French citizen? How about the tirailleurs and their families who fought in French wars? They were not French citizens? Yet, they were not expelled.
      Just curious: With what passports did Algerian Muslims from French Algeria travel abroad in pre-revolution days?
      .
      I am neither English nor journalist. And even if I were, living in the “periphery” would automatically disqualify me. I hope this settles it for you. But thanks for the thought.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Koshiro

      “How about the tirailleurs and their families who fought in French wars? They were not French citizens? Yet, they were not expelled.”
      Of course they were expelled. Or worse, in many cases. What made matters worse for them was the fact that they had no refuge to go to.

      But yes, treating all Jews of Algeria as hostile aliens because many of them had taken the side of the colonialists in the freedom struggle was unjust on the level of the individual. No doubt about it.

      Anyway: You’re just trying to deflect the simple and correct point that the Arab world is making progress in the treatment of minorities, while Israel is going backwards.

      Reply to Comment
    27. mikepanzone

      actually in the US, the government requires no particular language at all on labels…but these days almost everything has spanish as well as english because it just makes good business sense. the more people you accommodate, make feel welcome, comfortable,etc. then everyone wins.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Taoist

      Ever since President Jimmy Carter, a man I greatly respect, opened Pandora’s box calling Israel an “apartheid” society, the use of the term became widespread, more as an attack against Israel’s racist policies, than as a description of a new reality of segregation. True, the way Israel has walled up the occupied territories, has a precedent in S.A.’s “Bantustans,” where territories and boundaries were set for the black “untermensch.”

      However, IMHO, the plethora of anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, anti-minorities laws enacted by Israel (and those still in the Knesset drawers), and the unacceptable demand by Netanyahu and his minions to force the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” has more similarity with another period in history, not in South Africa, but in the US: what we called the “Jim Crow” period, or “Jim-Crowism.”

      After the civil war, the defeated Southern states enacted a body of state laws that marked the beginning of a new period of racial discrimination, and most of those laws were upheld by the US Supreme Court. It took almost a 100 years of humiliation, abuse, lynching, exploitation, oppression and repression of African-Americans, after Lincoln’s end of slavery proclamation, to finally bury Jim Crow laws with the civil rights movement, spearheaded by M.L.K.

      The main reason behind those discriminatory laws in the racist South, as well as behind the current anti-minority laws in Israel, is the same: fear. Southerners were in fear of the post-civil war “free” blacks they had exploited for centuries, same fear Israel has nowadays of being demographically swallowed by the Palestinians they dispossessed and oppressed for decades. The Israeli occupation, similarly to Jim-Crowism, has become a way of life, where Palestinians have been segregated to be second class citizens in their own land, and the justifications were more or less the same: many “Christian” ministers and preachers at that time taught whites were the “chosen people,” blacks were cursed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation, not different from Israeli “rabbis” calling for the killing of everybody and their brother who is not Jewish, and justifying the occupation as Israel’s God-given right.

      Once oppression of others is justified on religious grounds, and discrimination becomes a daily life (Jim Crow laws: “NO DOGS, NEGROS, MEXICANS,” “NEGROS SERVED IN REAR,” vis-a-vis Israel Nakba, anti-boycott, no Arabic laws, plus all kinds of religious bans and prohibitions, e.g. interracial mix), any other debate, such as the “constitutionality” of Israel’s “demotion” or “deletion” of Arabic as a language in Israel, loses all rational basis. The only criteria to be applied to the debate is whether the laws are HUMANLY FAIR for the sizable Arab population of Israel to be denied their language (and many other rights), as part of their submission to the “Jewish/Jim Crow” state.

      The measure by which Israel will be judged, is not its legalese mumbo-jumbo by which so far has justified occupation, oppression and repression of Palestinians, but its compassion in its interaction with the minorities is supposed to protect, as the “only,” ehem, “democracy” in the ME. The attack on Arabs and Arabic, is one more step into a hole Israel has been digging up for decades, and from which there is no easy way out, as the struggle for civil rights movement in the US demonstrated. Israel was supposed to be a light unto the world, not a projection of the internalized persecution of the Jewish people over many centuries. As it is, in purely historical terms, and for as long as the occupation remains, Israel’s soul as a modern nation-state will be a 100 years behind most truly democratic and free nations of the world, regardless of its economic success and technological advances. Israel, you are running out of time.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    29. RichardNYC

      “Perhaps it will also serve as a wake-up call to those who, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, are still holding on to the belief that a Jewish and democratic state is possible.”
      Oh, you mean almost all Jewish people on the planet – those idiots. Or maybe the residents of all those western countries that only have one official language – those idiots.

      Reply to Comment
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