This article discusses the process whereby the Arabic language became extinct as a language of discourse and scholarship, of reading and writing, of speech and listening, in Jewish society in Palestine/Israel over the past century, particularly since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The article is composed of five parts. The first part explains, in general and theoretical terms, the importance of addressing the issue of language instruction as having a profound effect on the links of the past to the present and the future, as it relates to inter-community relations, social and political considerations,desires, and visions, among other things. The second part of the article explores the situation regarding knowledge of Arabic among the Jewish population in Israel at the present time. The article analyzes a research report conducted on Jews’ knowledge of Arabic that revealed low to minuscule facility in various Arabic language skills. In the third part of the article Ire turn to the roots of language teaching in the 20th century, with special reference to the consolidation of Arabic instruction in Palestine as a European-philological-German field. I delve into the characteristics of this field particularly as it relates to the establishment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its Oriental Studies Institute (1926). The fourth part of the article deals with the “Latinization” of Arabic in schools and expound upon how this was given expression in the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa (from 1913 on wards) and how this has continued to form the foundation for teaching of the language to this very day. In this chapter I show that the issue of shaping Arabic instruction was rooted in Orientalism, on the one hand,and on security contexts on the other hand. In the fifth part of the article, I introduce a glimmer of hope into the woeful state of Arabic teaching in present-day Israel, by examining three educational-social-activist projects: advancing Arabic languageconferences at Israeli universities, promoting the teaching of Arabic in Arabic at Ben-Gurion University, and the advancement of the Maktoob series devoted to translating Arabic literature into Hebrew using a bilingual and binational model. The message that runs through this article is that there is a direct connection between Jewish-Arab and Israel-Arab relations and the teaching of Arabic in Israel, and that improving Arabic instruction in a civil-cultural mode is likely to have far-reaching effects.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Disappearance of Arabic among Jews in Israel: A Historico-Political Reading and Options to Challenge the Current Situation|
|State||Published - 2020|