The Hebrew Writers Association awarded the Golden Inkwell Word prize to Kadima MK Akram Hasson in Tel Aviv on Thursday, for his contribution to preserving the Hebrew language.

Hasson, who is Druse and served as mayor of Daliat al-Carmel, is the first non- Jew to receive a prize of this kind.

“I see myself as an Israeli for all intents and purposes,” Hasson said. “Israeli society must be one family, free from racism or bigotry. We need everyone to be equal.”

The Hebrew Writers Association in Israel was established in 1921 in Tel Aviv, with Nahum Sokolow as its honorary president. Ahad Ha’am and Haim Nahman Bialik also served as honorary presidents of the association, which today represents 450 writers, poets, directors and playwrights.

Hasson saw himself as an emissary of the association within the Knesset and worked tirelessly on its behalf.

“It’s a great honor for me to receive this prize. It’s a great feeling,” he said.

The Kadima MK worked to promote a bill on the preservation of the Hebrew language, which includes ensuring that all signage in Israel is first and foremost in Hebrew. The bill further stipulates that all speeches that take place overseas be conducted in Hebrew.

“This is our national language,” he said. “How come representatives from other countries speak in Italian and Spanish, with simultaneous translation, and we don’t? We don’t need to be embarrassed of our language. You hear kids today who are putting English words all the time into their speech. The language is losing its prestige.”

Hasson, largely with the help of his aide Marina Naomi Smolyanov (who also received a prize), managed to prevent the association from closing when bureaucratic problems arose relating to its budget.

A member of the association commented that Hasson “carries a torch in his struggle to preserve the purity of the Hebrew language.”

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