The Shmooze

In Jerusalem, Proposed Bill Would Replace Arabic Place Names With Hebrew

By Nathan Jeffay

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No doubt you’ve heard about the ongoing protests in Sheikh Jarrah and the famous hummus of Abu Gosh. Soon, mentioning these place names on Israeli state television and radio could become illegal.

The right-wing firebrand Tzipi Hotovely, the youngest lawmaker in Knesset, has initiated a bill that would rename these Jerusalem districts with Hebrew appellations. In areas for which a Hebrew name already exists, this would be used instead.

In short, Hotovely wants Arabic names of Jerusalem locales where any Jews live — even a tiny minority — Hebraized. She sees the move as strengthening the bond of Jews to Jerusalem, Ynet reports. “The purpose is to strengthen the bond to Jerusalem by enforcing the use of Hebrew names for the capital’s neighborhoods where Jews reside,” she said.

Of course, the flip side is that the Arab attachment to these places will be whitewashed out of the official geography of the city — and in turn reduced in public perception, as the bill requires that state radio and television only use the Hebrew names.


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