In response to Nation-State Law: Mass Arabic class held in Tel Aviv

“I will keep talking in Arabic until my last day.”

July 30, 2018 22:41
2 minute read.

Mass Arabic class held in Tel Aviv in response to Nation-State Law (Tamara Zieve)

Mass Arabic class held in Tel Aviv in response to Nation-State Law (Tamara Zieve)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Some 1,000 people took part in a mass Arabic-language lesson at Habima Square in Tel Aviv on Monday night, in an act of protest against the Nation-State Law, which defines Arabic as a “special status” language rather than an official one, sparking outrage from opponents of the law who see it as a downgrade.

“Arabic doesn’t need a special status, it needs a position,” said Samah Salaime of Neveh Shalom, addressing the audience ahead of the language lesson, which was dubbed by event organizers as “the largest Arabic lesson in the world.”

“The state sent us a painful alarm,” Salaime said, adding: “I will keep talking Arabic until my last day.”

“It is important for us to say that it is impossible to cancel out the Arabic language, “said Nadia Massalha, the emcee of the event. “There are residents here who live and speak this language, and we must hold onto it and strengthen it and continue working on ensuring that we have the Arabic language here.”

“The language is our past and our future, as is the Hebrew language, and we are not giving up on it,” Massalha told the crowd.

Also addressing the gathering, singer Miriam Toukan said that Israelis should embrace both Hebrew and Arabic rather than “going backward to the dark days.”

Joint List party leader Ayman Odeh was among the participants at the lesson, repeating after the teacher basic Arabic phrases.

Famous singers Mira Awad and Achinoam Nini also performed at the event, which featured a mixture of Hebrew, Arabic and English songs.

The initiative was a joint effort by a coalition of organizations whose mission is to work toward a shared society: the Abraham Fund, Givat Haviva, Sikkuy and Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel.

“Speaking Arabic is key to the future of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel,” the Abraham Fund stated.

The director of public affairs at Sikkuy, Edan Ring, told The Jerusalem Post that since the law was passed last week Jewish Israelis who opposed the law had not collectively sounded their voices and this was an opportunity for that. He also asserted that there is an increasing interest in learning Arabic in Tel Aviv.

“It’s happening today – say ‘No’ to the Nation-State Law.

Come to the square for the biggest Arabic lesson in the world!” Sikkuy wrote in a post on social media ahead of the event. “We must not allow the Nation-State Law to pass quietly, we must oppose it and build an alternative – a truly shared and egalitarian society.

In the face of the discriminatory and racist law, we will stand together tonight, Jewish and Arab citizens... come and raise your voice! Let’s say ‘No’ to the Nation-State Law and ‘Yes’ to equality and Jewish-Arab partnership!”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

July 24, 2019
Jewish teachers in Arab schools


Cookie Settings