Livnat: Arabic shouldn't be official language

Bill would leave Hebrew as Israel's only official language; Barakei: She should shut up.

limor livnat 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
limor livnat 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A new bill presented to the Knesset Monday would leave Hebrew as Israel's exclusive official language, making Arabic only a secondary language - along with English and Russian. The law was initially drafted by Likud MK Limor Livnat but was later seconded by MKs Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Ya'acov Margi (Shas). "Particularly in these days - when extremist organizations among Arab Israelis are trying to turn Israel into a bi-national state, and, consequently, into a bilingual state in which Hebrew and Arabic would become official languages with equal status - it is urgent to ratify by law the unique status of the language of the Bible, the Hebrew language," Livnat said. "These days, we are celebrating 60 years of national revival. The Hebrew language is a national asset second to none in importance, and in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence we must continue to safeguard it as did our fathers and their fathers before them for thousands of years." Politicians from the Left lambasted Livnat's proposal. "Livnat's cynical attempt to terminate Arabic as an official language in Israel is a dangerous idea that will create a superfluous break with 20 percent of the Israeli public," Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan said. "It is mind-boggling that considerations relating to primaries are pushing a former education minister to such extreme ideas." Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei also lashed out at the former education minister. "This negligible personality bears responsibility for the acute deterioration of the education system," Barakei said. "Arabic is the language of this land and the Livnat laws can't change that."