This weeks seems to be particularly rich in phantasmagoria: Transportation minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) decreed that from now on, all road signs will be in Hebrew only. Arabic is an official language of Israel, theoretically on par with Hebrew, and up until today, all road signs had to be written in both tongues – with English also normally thrown in, for tourists’ sake.
Katz decided that all new road signs will feature Hebrew and Arabic and English transliterations of the Hebrew names. So the sign for Nazareth, instead of sounding like this:
Will now sound like this:
This doesnt’ match the viciousness of the Nakba Law, although I think it certainly competes with it in pettiness. But beyond exemplifying the kind of bigotry and idiocy employed nowadays to court the Israeli mainstream, this is also a near-clinical manifestation of the said mainstream’s desire to forget the Arabs exist. The road-sign system in Israel is already hugely discriminatory – every single kibbutz of 100-200 members gets a couple of road signs, while a Galilee town of sevearl thousand Arab residents will be lucky to get a road sign at all – and even then it’ll be in Arabic only, implying that Jews have nothing to do there, anyway. But this initiative, even if it (in all probablity) fails the Supreme Court challenge , signifies a profound desire for the Arabs to vaporise, disappear, obligingly vanish – much like our beloved Cellcom ad. What’s even more frightening is that an accumulation of such wisfhul thinking is sometimes distilled into attempts to realize it, when conditions are ripe – but this is for a much more elaborate post, and hopefully not for the near future.