Mandelbrot set image very small MohammedAmin.com
Serious writing for
serious readers
Follow @Mohammed_Amin
Join my
email list

Search this site

Custom Search
Tap here for MENU

Should Israeli Arabs learn more Hebrew?

Yes, because their job prospects would be greatly enhanced by mastering Hebrew to the same level as Israeli Jews.

Until 31 December 2018, you can hear me reading the Thought for the Week on the Mike Shaft show. Listen from 2:42:03.

The Thought for the Week is followed by me disussing the following stories in the Sunday newspapers with Mike Shaft.

  1. Justin Welby's article in the Sunday Telegraph "In the Middle East, Christians are under grave threat - let us show them they are not forgotten."
  2. "Chinese pair Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng banned for match-fixing" about snooker in China from the Sunday Times.
  3. "What your date's food choice says about how well your big night is going (and if it's steak and chips, you might want to leave early)" from the Mail on Sunday.
  4. "Who’s that trip-trapping over my bridge? Goat yoga craze hits Britain" from the Sunday Times provided my best picture choice, of a woman in the yoga bridge position with a goat standing on her back.

If you listen from 2:24:30 you can hear Jonny Wineberg, Chair of the Executive of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, and previously the Jewish Co-Chair of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester talking about Chanukah.

Summary

Broadcast 2 December 2018. Posted 7 December 2018.

A conversation that took place during a recent week-long visit to Israel and the West Bank provided the topic for my 45th "Thought for the Week" broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester.

While the question I pose is discussed in the context of Israel's Arab citizens, it is equally applicable to members of any linguistic minority group anywhere.

Thought for the week

I recently visited Israel. After a conversation about the university education of Israel’s Arab citizens, I thought of a question.

“What happens if action that will make your life better goes against the identity of the community you were born into?”

The background is that most Israeli Arabs attend primary and secondary schools where they are taught almost entirely in Arabic. However Israeli universities teach only in Hebrew. To learn, say, advanced computing in Arabic, Israeli Arabs attend a university on the West Bank.

My view is that to succeed in a society where 80% of the people speak Hebrew, your Hebrew needs to be as good as that spoken by any Israeli Jew. Otherwise, not being able to speak perfect Hebrew just gives potential Israeli employers an excuse to reject you. That is quite apart from any anti-Arab discrimination, which does exist in Israel. Accordingly, I believe that Israeli Arabs should actively choose to attend Hebrew language universities to ensure they master Hebrew.

The response I received was that this would mean Israeli Arabs betraying their heritage.

This is not just an Israeli question. In Britain, my extended family of Pakistani origin use English for everything. The only exception is when speaking to elderly relatives from Pakistan. We have made our choices, to be English speaking British Muslims of Pakistani origin.

In the same way, there is nothing stopping people choosing to be Hebrew speaking Israeli Muslims of Arab origin.

However, it is a choice that people have to make for themselves. They should feel free to make that choice, instead of being made to feel guilty about it.

 

The Disqus comments facility below allows you to comment on this page. Please respect others when commenting.
You can login using any of your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Disqus identities.
Even if you are not registered on any of these, you can still post a comment.
comments powered by Disqus

 

Custom Search

Follow @Mohammed_Amin

Tap for top of page