During the Knesset’s special debate marking Arabic Language Day on Tuesday, January 24, Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash), who initiated the special day, said, “Arabic is an official language in Israel and is the language of the region, as well as the mother tongue of about a fifth of Israel’s citizens… The rights of language and the principle of multiculturalism must ensure the proper status of Arabic, including in the education system, public services and public spaces.”
MK Jabareen went on to say that the special Knesset session should serve as a platform to promote the status of Arabic and as well as future steps to use language as a real bridge for peace and coexistence. “The challenge now is in the implementation of the recommendation adopted by the various parliamentary committees,” he concluded.
Joint List MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), the chairman of the subcommittee for public transportation announced, “In the coming year there will be a significant change in public transportation in Arab communities, in general, and accessibility of information to passengers in Arabic in particular.”
Gabi Navon, director of planning for public transportation at the Ministry of Transportation, promised that, by the end of August, there will be Arabic-language signs in all public transport stations throughout the country and that signs and vocal directions would be translated in buses serving areas where 50% of the residents are Arabs. He explained that “no electric signs are located at bus stops in Arab towns due to vandalism.”
In the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, Chairwoman MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List – Hadash) called on the Ministry of Culture to increase the budget to support cultural works in Arabic.