Haaretz, Feb. 19, 2016

Contempt for Arabic meant contempt for the history of the land and the history of its Arab residents. Yosef David Maman described it during an argument with Ashkenazi modernists: “You, the eternal wanderer, come to France and learn French, Germany and learn German, go to America and learn English; so why when you want to come to Palestine, which is dearer than all those countries, do you not learn Arabic, the language of the people of the land who you meet every day?”

[...] Very few Jews today know Arabic. While some 10 percent of Jews said they have a good knowledge of Arabic, only 6 percent can recognize the letters and 1.5 percent can read and write Arabic [....] This figure is especially troubling because it signals a desire to erase the existence of the Palestinians in Israel, in the past and present, and points out how effectively the notion of an Arab-Jewish culture has been erased from Israeli consciousness.

There is no more appropriate moment to ponder this than now, when the Knesset is advancing the law on suspending MKs, which indicates the fragile status of Arab lawmakers, and, in a symbolic way, the fragile status of Arab citizens. This marks the culmination of the process of removing Arabic as the language of the land and the Arabs as its residents.