Thousands of people, including students gathered in Tel Aviv late last month for what was called the “world’s largest Arabic language lesson”. It was a befitting response to Israeli decision to remove Arabic as official language.
Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv this week to condemn the government’s crackdown on Arabic language by organising the world’s largest Arabic lesson session. In recent months, the Israeli government has tried to disconnect civilians from Arabic, which has been the mother tongue in the region for centuries. The mass lesson was protest against the government’s bias towards culture and heritage.
Only recently, the Israeli parliament passed the controversial law that denounced Arabic as the national language. Arabic has been a local dialect spoken and understood by a majority. Last month on July 18th, Arabic was given a special status – it was not banned but removed from being a state’s official language. Hebrew was made the official state language per the “Nation-State” law.
A majority of those who participated in the mass procession was thousands. World’s largest Arabic lesson was organized by May Arow, (language Director at the Abraham Initiatives Fund). He shared his thoughts by labeling the act of government only to affect Arabic language negatively in the region.
The peaceful gathering to restore Arabic language was organized to give a thoughtful reply to the radical legislation that aimed for censoring culture and heritage. One of the protesters opined that many people were enthusiastically repeating Arabic words to show their allegiance with our cause to save Arabic language.” Arrow kept getting response from the public as she took the first class of Arabic language in Tel Aviv. “They were not there only to listen and to stand there,” May said.
The lesson consisted of words that are used in everyday life. She said “If you care, learn Arabic, don’t care about what the law says”.