Tel Aviv Yafo Logo.
(photo credit: Tel Aviv -Yafo)
The city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s logo will remain bilingual, after the city council voted 14-10 Monday night against a move to have Arabic added to the city’s English and Hebrew seal.
Councilman Ahmed Mashrawi of the Meretz faction said that Monday night’s decision was “a statement about how our [Arabs] rights are viewed, that the mayor will mobilize the coalition to vote this down.”
The logo that Mashrawi proposed would have included Tel Aviv-Jaffa in Arabic written below the English and Hebrew form of the city’s name, in smaller print than the other two languages.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said Monday night that “there’s nothing to this proposal except one councilman’s desire to make a headline,” adding that in Tel Aviv “there is an overwhelming majority of 90 percent Jews and only 4% are from the Arab community.
There is no logic or reason to add the writing. This was never done before in any other place in Israel or the world.”
Mashrawi said he proposed the Arabic addition to the logo because it would increase Arab residents’ feeling of attachment to the city.
“When Tel Aviv and Jaffa were united in 1950, the political goal that stood behind this decision was the desire to erase all of the glorious Arab history in Jaffa. The Arab community of Jaffa is today a minority in the city but it has a glorious history in Jaffa and it is fitting that it be honored by putting the name in Arabic on the municipality logo,” Mashrawi said last week.
Mashrawi pushed forward a plan last year that saw eight unnamed streets in Jaffa renamed for Arab and Islamic figures.
Arabs make up around a third of the 46,000 residents of Jaffa, where they were a majority before the 1948 War of Independence. Arab residents have complained in recent years of the city’s increasing gentrification, which they say has made it more difficult for young families to afford to live in the city.
In response to the ruling, Adalah – the legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, posted a mock-up municipality logo on Facebook, with the words “Tel Aviv Jaffa” written in Arabic in large blue letters.
“Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council said no to Arabic in its logo...so we decided to do it for them. It took us 5 minutes!” the post said.