Monday, July 13, 2009

No more pre-48 Arabic names on Israeli road signs

To assert the Jewishness of Jerusalem, the Israeli government has decided to replace "Al Quds" (the Arabic name for Jerusalem: القدس) with a transliteration of "Yerushalaim" in Arabic on their road signs. English names such as Nazereth will also be replaced with transliterations of the Hebrew name. I heard this on BBC World Service today. Needless to say, I haven't seen coverage of this in the US media.

The Arab resistance will surely be pissed about this, and will probably bomb an Iraqi market to protest.

Row over 'standard' Hebrew signs

'Israeli transport chiefs have unveiled a plan to replace traditional Arabic and English place names on road signs, keeping only their Hebrew versions.

It means biblical locations such as Nazareth and Caesarea will come to be identified as Natsrat and Kesriya.

The Transport Ministry planners said a lack of uniform spelling on road signs caused confusion for drivers.

Israeli Arabs said it is an attempt to erase the Arabic language and heritage which predates the modern Israel.

"[Transport Minister Yisrael] Katz is mistaken if he thinks that changing a few words can erase the existence of the Arab people," said Arab MP Ahmed Tibi.

Currently most Israeli road signs are written in Hebrew, Arabic and English, using the traditional names in each language.

Jerusalem is identified as "Yerushalaim" in Hebrew, "Jerusalem" in English, and "al-Quds" in Arabic (along with "Yerushalaim" written in Arabic script).

Under the new policy the Holy City will only be identified as Yerushalaim in all three languages.

Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, which still has a sizeable community of Arabs who trace their ancestry to pre-1948 Palestine, will in future be written as Hebraised Yafo.'

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