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  • What Israel can learn from Morocco's multiculturalism

    Since it gained independence in 1956, Morocco’s national identity has transformed from a homogenous Arab one to multicultural. Israel could stand to learn a lesson or two. By Einat Levi Two weeks ago, the Knesset passed the controversial Jewish Nation-State Law. Sixty-two members of Israel’s parliament voted in favor, 55 opposed, and two abstained. Several sections of the law provoked a political and public storm. For instance, Article 4 defines Hebrew as the official language of the State of Israel, while for the first time in Israeli history, Arabic is defined as having a "special status." What does this actually mean?…

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  • Who needs a Nation-State Law? What Israelis really think

    Several polls show that a surprising coalition of Israelis oppose the Jewish Nation-State Law, or at least think it is unnecessary and harmful. Those of us who are committed to equality of all citizens in Israel feel, once again, like specks drowning in a sea of chest-beating nationalists. The passage of the Jewish Nation-State Law looks like another example of ethno-nationalist populism sweeping Israeli society. “Massive support from the right for Nation-State Law,” read a headline reporting on a survey from Walla! News this week; Haaretz commentator Yossi Verter declared: “Public support for it extends beyond the borders of the…

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  • Why the Israeli Left can't reconcile with the most Zionist law

    For seven decades, those on the Zionist Left have been reluctant to grapple with Israel's history of discrimination against its Palestinian minority. With the Jewish Nation-State Law, they have no choice — and that's what really hurts. By Meron Rapoport It is difficult, if not impossible, to find Palestinians who support Israel’s new Jewish Nation-State Law. It is just as impossible to find Palestinians who are surprised by the law, which, in truth, does not tell Palestinians anything they did not know before: that the State of Israel is the state of the Jews, and the Arabs who live here are…

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  • 'World's largest Arabic lesson': A rebuke to the Jewish Nation-State law

    Thousands of Israelis attend the event, billed as the world's largest Arabic lesson, in protest of a new nationalist law that excludes Palestinian citizens of Israel from the national identity and demotes Arabic from its status as an official language. Thousands of Jewish and Palestinian Israelis took part in what was billed as the “biggest Arabic lesson in the world” in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square Monday evening, an event organized to protest Israel's new Jewish Nation-State Law, which stripped Arabic of its status as an official language in the country. [tmwinpost] The event, organized by a number of coexistence and peace…

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  • Meet the poet whose words Israel considers terrorism

    After being convicted of incitement to terrorism, and just before she is handed her sentence, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour opens up in a personal interview about her Kafkaesque trial, the struggle of Palestinian citizens, and why she is a real poet, despite what her critics may claim. By Oren Ziv On Tuesday, July 31, at 11 a.m. Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour will be sentenced before a Nazareth court. For nearly three years, Tatour has been under house arrest in her family home in the village of Reineh. She is not allowed to use the internet. [tmwinpost] Tatour was convicted of inciting…

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  • How Arabic became a threat to 'social cohesion' in Israel

    The absurd arrest of a Palestinian worker who was mistranslated by the police is a reminder that Arabic has been turned into a tool to oppress the native population in this country. Israelis read Sunday morning that Israeli police had mistakenly arrested a Palestinian worker after relying on a Facebook translation of a post he had written a week earlier. The worker had uploaded a photo of himself standing next to a bulldozer with the caption, "good morning," which the police then misinterpreted to say, "attack them," leading to his arrest for incitement to violence. [tmwinpost] The incident exemplifies something about…

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  • Israel's nation-state bill threatens the mother tongue of Mizrahi Jews

    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…

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  • Teaching our children Arabic should be elementary

    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,…

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  • WATCH: Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian for filming them

    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…

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  • Unpacking anti-Arab racism in Israel

    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…

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  • Following complaints, bus company halts Arabic-language announcements

    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…

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  • New children's book revives legacy of Jewish-Muslim coexistence

    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…

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  • How Israel erases Arabic from the public landscape

    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…

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