The Israeli government's attempts, via the nation-state bill, to erase the Arabic language from this country not only threatens Palestinians, it also undermines Mizrahi identity. But their attempt is doomed to fail. By Netta Amar-Shiff When my grandmother, Sa'ida, came to Israel, she worked at Kfar Hadasim Youth Village as a house mother, and needed to undergo a quick process of Hebraization so as to communicate with hundreds of new immigrant children. Although they had much in common, there remained a gulf between them, the most prominent of which was their mother tongues. Hebrew served as a bridge for both the children…Read More... | 44 Comments
A new study shows that Jewish Israeli teens who studied Arabic in elementary school have a better appreciation for Arab society later on. As the government continues its attacks on Arabic, it is imperative that teachers and parents fight to ensure children learn the language. By Gil Gertel The so-called nation-state bill, which passed its first reading in the Knesset last week, is not intended to uphold Israel as the "nation-state of the Jewish people" as per MK Avi Dichter (Likud), the original author of the bill, in 2017. The privileges of Jews in Israel are well protected, including legally,…Read More... | 6 Comments
Soldiers arrest a Palestinian man before shooting his brother in the knee with a rubber bullet. Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian volunteer with an Israeli human rights organization before shooting his brother in the knee with a rubber bullet earlier this month. [tmwinpost] The incident took place on February 10 in the West Bank village of Adameh near Nablus as Israeli soldiers guarding the settlement of Yitzhar and its illegal satellite outposts fired tear gas at local Palestinian youths who were reportedly taking a walk nearby. When Ahmad Ziyada, a Palestinian volunteer with Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem and a…Read More... | 16 Comments
A new law aiming to silence the Muslim call to prayer is just one manifestation of efforts to erase Palestinian culture and identity. But language and heritage aren't so easy to disappear. There is a building on Michelangelo Street in Jaffa, near where I used to live, which for a while featured the sentiment “We have no other country” graffitied in both Arabic and Hebrew, side by side. One day, the Arabic was painted over, presumably by the municipality, leaving only the Hebrew. Almost immediately, someone restored the Arabic. It was painted over again. This pattern continued until a friend publicly asked the municipality why…Read More... | 13 Comments
Residents of Be'er Sheva were enraged to find out that a new bus company had announcements in both Hebrew and Arabic. After numerous complaints, the Arabic announcements came to an end. By John Brown* An Israeli bus company in the southern city of Be'er Sheva stopped activating its Arabic-language announcement system last week, following complaints by city residents. [tmwinpost] The company, Dan Be'er Sheva, won a tender in January of this year, replacing the Metro Dan company to the delight of many residents, who have repeatedly criticized the city's poor public transportation. The new buses include a PA system, which…Read More... | 6 Comments
On the backdrop of rising discrimination and violence against Israel's Arab citizens, a new children's book invokes the spirit of friendship between Arabs and Jews, giving us at least one thing to look forward to in 2016. By Yoni Mendel (Translated from Hebrew by Ami Asher) A new children's book, "Sweet Tea with Mint And Other Stories" is being released in a climate of increasing discrimination. With the Education Ministry excluding books from its curriculum out of fear of “miscegenation,” at a time of record low of Arabic proficiency among Jews, and with the images of Jews dancing and stabbing photos of Palestinian…Read More... | 11 Comments
The Israeli government has begun omitting the Arabic name for Jerusalem from its street signs, erasing not only the language from the Israeli consciousness, but Palestinian identity itself. By Umar Al-Ghubari Driving towards Jerusalem on Highway 1, you may notice a relatively new phenomenon taking place on the road signs directing you to the city. Readers of Arabic will see that the name of Jerusalem in Arabic has undergone a change: the word in brackets, القدس, Al-Quds, which appeared there until very recently, no longer exists on the new signs that have recently been put up by the roadsides in those…Read More...
Israeli leaders like to claim that Jerusalem has never been an Arab or Muslim capital, and vowing that it never will be. But are they guilty of performing linguistic gymnastics and a selective memory of Israel's legal commitments about the holy city? By Lorenzo Kamel At a Jerusalem Day ceremony on May 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Jerusalem has always been the capital “of the Jewish people alone, not of any other people,” adding that Israel “will fight incitement, which stems from denial of our attachment to Jerusalem and our heritage.” A decade earlier Ehud Olmert, Israel’s PM…Read More... | 49 Comments
Part four, in which our heroes find a jar of rare yeast spread, and have a wonderful time chuckling at 'Google Translate.' Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ here. On Tuesday I wrote Hanin: "It's time to look for a singer. You said you knew a few." There was no response that day, nor the following. I told myself to be patient. On Friday I read a spectacular op-ed in Haaretz, authored by none other than Mira Awad, the same Galilee-born Palestinian singer whom Hanin rejected. Awad wrote about going out for drinks with a mixed group of Arab…Read More... | 1 Comment
Yuval Ben-Ami and his gang are going where no man or woman has gone before: They are trying to produce a bilingual, bi-national album based on the songs of pop prodigy Lorde. The only problem: The gang itself is homogenous to the core. An insurmountable challenge? For the entire Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, click here. A week after our Yemenite feast, I met with Yaron to start working out the details. "I have a title for the EP," I told him, "I want it to be 'העונה לתספורת קצרה,' that's 'Buzzcut Season,' the name of one of Lorde's songs. I think…Read More...
The Ministry of Education has promised to add Arabic to its new website 'within days' for over a month. Since the Israeli school year began on September 1, the Education Ministry's official website, which was recently revamped, has failed to provide its new look in Arabic - which is (still) an official language in Israel. Or Kashti, Haaretz's reporter on education, inquired with the ministry when he first noticed the issue after the site's relaunch on August 20th. He also contacted them about the fact that nearly all the photos on the site were of light-skinned blonde children (His report…Read More... | 5 Comments
Members of Knesset say law builds a 'collective identity' that will preserve the 'values of democracy.' By Orly Noy A group of MKs from Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud and Jewish Home recently submitted a bill that calls to rescind the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel. On its own, the bill is neither out of the ordinary nor surprising, as it joins a long list of draft laws that were brought before the Knesset plenum over the past years, including the Citizenship Law, the Nakba Law, the Loyalty Law, the Basic Law that declares Israel as the nation state…Read More... | 3 Comments
At Hebrew University, the narratives in Arabic and Hebrew language textbooks glorify Zionism and blur out any sign of the occupation. The next step? Using force against Palestinian students who dare to protest that very narrative. Fadi Asleh (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) Israeli Independence Day is also Palestinian Nakba Day. This is one of those days that is charged with memories, pain, political views, identities, etc. The very choice of name for this day reveals one's culture, identity and distinct political standing. And language is a front no less important (or violent) than other fronts. According to the…Read More...
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