Israel: Arabic Announcements to Return to Be’er Sheva Buses

Practice had stopped at request of mayor, following Jewish residents’ complaints.

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Be'er Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich speaks at a conference held by The Marker, November 2016.
Be'er Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich speaks at a conference held by The Marker, November 2016.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Announcements over the loudspeakers in Arabic on buses in Be’er Sheva will be reinstated by June, the Transportation Ministry told the High Court of Justice on Tuesday. In November the ministry instructed the operator of public buses in the city, Dan Be’er Sheva, to cease the Arabic announcements about stops.

Dan Be’er Sheva began running buses in the city about six months ago and began making announcements in both Hebrew and Arabic. But three days after it began operations, the Transportation Ministry ordered the company to stop the Arabic announcements, saying Mayor Ruvik Danilovich had requested it after he received complaints from local Jewish residents.

In December, five Negev Bedouin filed a petition with the High Court asking to reinstate the announcements in Arabic on the buses. The Transportation Ministry told the court the Arabic announcements began by mistake and ahead of schedule. Also, the ministry stated, the Arabic information had a number of mistakes and problems with the audio.

As a result, the ministry said it hired an outside firm to correct the mistakes, and the work is scheduled to be completed by May 17. After the new audio technology is received, it will be installed on the buses in Be’er Sheva for a week-long test, and if no major problems are found, the bilingual announcements will go backl into operation by June 7, the Transportation Ministry told the High Court.

The Transportation Ministry said it is working to institute bilingual announcements on all public transportation all over the country, and will introduce it gradually based on the needs in various cities. But the ministry did not provide details of where and when this would happen.

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