Ministers vote against requiring high schools in Israel to teach Arabic

MK Issawi Frej says that with vote Israel chose not to "strengthen the familiarity between different parts of Israeli society."

June 29, 2014 17:45
1 minute read.
Arabic language signs in east Jerusalem

Arabic language signs in east Jerusalem 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Ministers voted on Sunday against making Arabic a required subject for high school students to learn.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation rejected a bill by MKs Issawi Frej (Meretz), Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) and Moshe Mizrachi (Labor), with only Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat voting in favor.

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Frej said the ministers voted against "strengthening the familiarity between different parts of Israeli society and between Israel and its neighbors. Learning Arabic is an Israeli interest and not a question of left or right. Livni, Livnat and Levin understood this, but Yesh Atid proved again, for those who did not already know, how backwards the party is, which finds ideological partners in the extreme right like Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu." 

An Arab NGO said in May that Arabic is neglected by the state, even though it is an official language.

Dirasat: The Arab Center for Law and Policy argued that Arabic has become neglected to such an extent that it has basically become an unofficial language.

Dirasat, established in 2006, works for achieving equality for the Arab minority in Israel.

Yousef Jabareen the General Director of Dirasat said in May that Arabic needs to be strengthened in the education system, adding then that the language is being taught less in Jewish schools as of late.

Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.

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