Tuesday, July 14, 2009

'Hebraizing' Israeli-Arabs

"This is a blatant attempt at harming the Arabic language and everything it represents," Tibi said. (Google)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli government is planning to remove Arabic and English names of cities and towns on road signs, keeping only their Hebrew versions.

"(Transportation) Minister Yisrael Katz took this decision that will be progressively applied," a ministry spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday, July 13.

Under the new plan, only Hebrew names of cities, towns and villages will remain on road signs.

Currently, Israeli road signs are written in Hebrew, Arabic and English, with the city names in each language.

So Jerusalem is identified as Yerushalaim in Hebrew, Jerusalem in English and Al-Quds in Arabic (along with Yerushalaim written in Arabic script).

But now, the holy city will only be identified as Yerushalaim in all three languages. Nazareth (Al-Nasra in Arabic) will be identified as Natzrat and Jaffa (Jaffa in Arabic) will only be written as Yafo.

"The names on the signs should reflect the reality of the local population, which is exactly why Israeli signs must have Hebrew transliteration," Katz told Yediot Aharonot daily.

He claimed that the move was prompted by the Palestinian insistence to use Arabic names for Israeli towns.

"Some Palestinian maps still refer to the Israeli cities by their pre-1948 names, since they see them as settlements," said Katz.

"I will not allow that on our signs. This government, and certainly this minister, will not allow anyone to turn Jewish Jerusalem to Palestinian al-Quds."


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