Can the Jewish State Become a Hebrew Republic?

Dec. 8 2014
About Philologos

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.

A new history of the creation of modern Hebrew ends with speculation about whether the Hebrew language could become the basis of an Israeli identity that could unify Jewish and Arab citizens. In his review, Philologos evaluates the merits of this proposal:

[T]he great majority of Israeli Arabs are not about to start adopting Hebrew as their mother tongue in the historically foreseeable future. Although the process will be quicker among Christians and Druze, it will probably, in the best of cases, take quite a few more generations among them, too. Already today one hears many Israeli Arabs incorporating numerous Hebrew words and expressions in their Arabic speech, and Hebrew is becoming more and more a part of their lives; yet to the best of my knowledge, there is still not a single Arab family in Israel in which Hebrew is the language of the home, and until the first such linguistic signs appear, assimilation is at an early stage. The “Hebrew Republic,” alas (for I, too, would like to see it come to pass), is still far away.

Read more at Forward

More about: Assimilation, Israeli Arabs, Language, Modern Hebrew

As Hamas’s Reign of Terror Endures, the International Community Remains Obsessed with Jews Living in the Wrong Places

On Thursday, foreign ministers of the G-7—the U.S., Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy—along with the EU, made an official “statement on the situation in the West Bank,” an area where they are very concerned, it appears, that too many Jews are dwelling. In particular, the G-7 condemned Israel’s decision to grant municipal status to five ad-hoc villages built without proper permits. Elliott Abrams comments:

I can see “condemning” murder, terror, kidnapping, and “rejecting” that legalization. Indeed in the next sentence they “reject the decision by the government of Israel to declare over 1,270 hectares of land in the West Bank as ‘state lands.’” Building houses should not be treated with language usually reserved for murder.

The statement then added complaints about the Israeli settlement program more generally, and about Israel’s decision to withhold some tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Why does Israel ever withhold such funds? Sometimes it is in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack. Sometimes it’s domestic politics. But it’s worth remembering something else: the Taylor Force Act, which became law in 2018 and stated that the “Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror.” Until those payments cease, most forms of aid from the U.S. government to the Palestinian Authority may not be made. The payments continue. It is not clear if the State Department is pressuring the Palestinian Authority to end them.

Such moral considerations are entirely absent from the G-7 statement. The statement may be correct when it says, “maintaining economic stability in the West Bank is critical for regional security.” But it should be obvious that ending the pay-for-slay program and rewards for terrorism is even more critical for regional security. It’s a pity the G-7 did not find time to mention that.

The statement, it’s worth noting, appeared on the U.S. State Department website.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Europe and Israel, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy, West Bank