Sunday, January 18

Arabic? Nah... Arabs? Nah.... Israel is the "only democracy in the Middle East" after all

In the course of the first municipal council meeting of the newly elected Jaffa-Tel Aviv municipal council member and Jaffa resident, Omar Siksik, decided to address the council in Arabic. Arabic and Hebrew are both official languages of the State of Israel. By law all official signs etc should be bi-lingual and the state is supposed to provide services in both languages.

A week prior to the meeting Omar had informed the council's secretary of his intent to speak in Arabic and that it might be a good idea to provide simultaneous translation during the meeting, as perhaps not all council members are able to understand Arabic. A day before the Jaffa list offices sent another reminder to the municipality.
The answer came by phone: the legal counsel of the municipality said there was no need to provide Omar with translation, as he knows Hebrew, obviously completely missing the point, that indeed, Omar knows both languages, but not all council members know Arabic.

Of course there was no simultaneous translation during the session and the meeting protocol only stated that Omar had spoken in Arabic, but there was no translation nor any other relation to the content of what he had said during the meeting.

In fact Omar stated in Arabic that the citizens of Jaffa, when they come to receive services from the municipality, they cannot do so in Arabic, although many of them have problems reading and understanding Hebrew bureaucrateese, that very special language developed by burocrats for their various darkish purposes.
Omar sent a letter of protest to Ron Huldai, the mayor and the council members, informing them the protocol did not represent what he had stated.
After an article was published in Ynet (in Hebrew) about the event a few days ago, all hell broke loose: some 300+ "talk backs", most of them of a blatantly racist nature and very few remarks really dealing with the topic.
But ex-minister of education, Limor Livnat, intends to take things even a little further, stating she wants to make a new law according to which Arabic will no longer be an official language of the state, next to Hebrew.


Anonymous said...

I always thought the best revenge the Palestinians could effect upon the Israelis would be a Gandhi/MLK type non-violent movement. They then could have a great time at throwing all this PC crap at them.

But the Palestinians are war like people and don't until stand the subtle truth of sometimes the greatest revenge can not be found by actually killing a people but instead by destroying them from within though attacks like this one.

It seems like some of them have now caught on to that. Time (and birthrates) are definitely on the side of the Palestinians. If Iran doesn't get Israel first (which I think is far more likely) Israel will not survive intact into the 22nd century. By 50 years or less the people of the country will vote to change the name of Israel to Palestine (as by that time most of the people will be Palestinian).

yudit said...

"The Palestinians are war like people".... another over-generalizing anonymous upon us.

And why should the use of a language be considered "an attack"?

Arabic and Hebrew are both official languages of the state of Israel, according to Israeli law....

And yes, if you are talking about "medinat kol ezraheya" מדינת על אזרחיה a state for ALL its citizens, that sounds like the most peaceful as well as realistic option

yudit said...

מדינת כל אזרחיה i meant to say