Camelia Suleiman will join us at the CCAS to discuss her newly published book Politics of Arabic in Israel. It will be hosted in ICC 141.
Camelia Suleiman will explore the implications of removing Arabic as an official language in the State of Israel for the history and future of the Palestinian Arab minority living there.
RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/politics-of-arabic-in-israel-camelia-suleiman-tickets-37537617023
While Arabic has been an official language of Israel, Hebrew is used more commonly and publicly. Over time, Palestinian citizens of Israel have become increasingly bilingual, but not the other way round. Israeli Jews are generally not interested in learning Arabic. Scholars like Yehouda Shenhav of Tel-Aviv University claim that Israel’s melting pot necessitated that all Jews living in the country should speak Hebrew. And, in fact, the number of Arabic speakers among the descendants of Mizrachi Jews who immigrated from Middle Eastern countries when Israel was established has dwindled.
It’s easy to imagine that removing Arabic as an official language will accelerate this trend. Some may even see the law as part of a process that Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling referred to as ethnic exclusion and “politicide.”