Jan Shafshovitz, an Israeli soldier and immigrant from Moldova, was 20 years old when he was murdered in 1998 at a café on the Ashkelon beach. His crime was speaking Russian with a friend next to a group of people who thought that the two “Russians” were laughing at them. It was a racist murder sparked by the use of a “forbidden” language. This past Saturday, the Bilingual School in Jerusalem was damaged in an arson attack. This crime, too, was due to language, but things were turned around in this case: The school wanted to teach Hebrew – just not to the right people.
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The Jewish terrorists behind the attack would likely cite extenuating circumstances: The school’s children and teachers hurt the Hebrew language’s mission as the national language. They threw the palace gates open to the enemy. In the Jewish state there is no place for a language that is not the national language, certainly not for Arabic, which represents the enemy. We can’t just patiently wait for the nation-state law to officially ban Arabic.
Many everyday Hebrew phrases are drawn from the language of the occupation. For example, the arson attack on the Bilingual School could be called a “atmosphere terror attack” – of the sort that is fed by the wellsprings of incitement being disseminated by the Jewish leadership. But such attacks, or a “Jewish intifada by lone individuals,” is no substitute for a strategy.
The thing to do is to divide the country into Areas A, B and C, like in the West Bank, and to define in each one of them where it is permissible to speak Arabic, and how much. Jewish young people will only be permitted to learn Arabic in ulpans run by the Intelligence Corps, and Israeli Arabs who wish to study Hebrew will have to first be vetted in a security inspection, or else study it in prison.
Speaking Arabic in public places will also be banned, and special patrols will enforce the ban, with the assistance of sensitive citizens.
Attacking bilingual schools is a first step, but soon there will be more targets to purify. If Jewish and Arab schoolchildren mustn’t study together, why permit Arab students to attend Israeli universities? And, of course, Arab students will also have to be banned from studying Bible, Hebrew literature and Hebrew language, for it’s not just the language that’s under threat, but all of Jewish culture.
About a decade ago, there was heated debate among Egyptian writers as to whether to grant permission for their work to be translated into Hebrew. One of the main arguments against such translation went that it would provide the Jews with the means to really understand the Arabs, and so it wouldn’t be long before they could also identify and exploit their weaknesses. About the last thing we need is for the Arabs, especially Israeli Arabs, to penetrate the depths of the Jewish soul, to become closely familiar with the source of wisdom and derive knowledge from it. Then a single lit match in the Faculty of the Humanities in Jerusalem is all it will take to do the job.
Avi Dichter, Ayelet Shaked, Zeev Elkin, David Rotem and the Kadima MKs who already supported canceling Arabic’s standing as an official language back in 2011 know what they’re talking about. The common denominator of Israeli Judaism is hanging by a thread. Not much is left of it. As a religion and faith, it is crashing to pieces every Shabbat on the soccer fields and beaches, or shutting itself off in ghettoes. Political Judaism has been captured by lunatic nationalism, and all that remains of Judaism as a nationality is the Hebrew language as the symbol of the club, and when the club is going up in flames, the symbol must be saved at least.
From now on, let every Israeli who wants to study in Arabic know, even if he’s just a 6- or 7-year-old kid, that the national purity patrols will come after him. Because unlike English, Russian or Spanish, which are used by many nationalities, Hebrew is not the language of the state, it is the language of the race. It’s okay not to understand the meaning of all its words; you can distort it, confuse masculine and feminine forms, invent shortcuts for it or have it produce all kinds of slang, but Hebrew must not be allowed to fuse Jews and Arabs into a single bloc. This linguistic assimilation is dangerous. Today they’ll learn Hebrew, and tomorrow they’ll marry Jewish women.