Did This Happen Because Arabic was Demoted?
In which case, the Arab parliamentarians in Israel may either jump for joy or sigh in relief. Or is it because anti-Zionist Arabs running for public office are treated differently by Israel’s Supreme Court than Jewish candidates against whom the claim is made that they are racist? In any case, here is the story:
In 2013, head of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, wrote an article in Arabic in which he praised Hassan Nasralla, head of Hizbullah. Shortly after the election in March, Ishay Fridman of Makor Rishon reportedly discovered a reference to Odeh’s article on the social media of one of the two new female Joint List MKs.
With under three months remaining until the statute of limitations runs out, Shai Glick, CEO of B’tsalmo, a rightwing human rights organization, was quick to turn to the Attorney General to ask for an investigation to be conducted. He provided a link to Odeh’s article. I will provide details of the objectionable material in the next section.
Here is the response of the Deputy State Attorney’s Office to B’tsalmo’s petition:
We received your request for opening an investigation against Ayman Odeh regarding an article he wrote in 2013. The article was submitted to us without translation. Because of that, and after considering the content of your communication, we did not find it appropriate to attend to the matter. …
Now do you see why I suggested there may be an advantage to the demotion of Arabic from an official language to one with special status? Were it an official language, all government offices would be compelled to be able to cope with materials in Arabic.
When MK Ofir Katz heard of this, he wrote his own letter to Mandleblitt and Justice Minister Ofir Ohana:
The content of the request is very serious and demands the opening of an investigation, but the response sent by the Deputy State Attorney’s Office writes that an investigation will not be conducted because the material was submitted without a translation. The State Attorney’s response is demeaning and unbecoming — serious incitement is passed over without response because the Prosecutor’s office is unable to translate the inciteful material?
I would also like to ask: had the article been submitted in translation as you wrote, would the Prosecution not have verified for itself whether or not the translation is correct?
I await your response.
You can be sure that Glick will be appealing this. He will not let go.
The Offensive Material in Odeh’s Article
Fridman’s article in Makor Rishon gives details from what Odeh wrote in 2013. Here is my translation into English, paraphrased:
Odeh was upset with how members of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel belittled Hassan Nasrallah because of his activities in Syria alongside Bashar Assad. He wondered if they see Nasrallah as nothing more than a “poisoned Iranian arrowhead”? He also accused them of neglecting to refer to Nasrallah by his titles of honour: Sheikh and Sayed.
Odeh glorified Nasrallah for the unique example of resistence he demonstrated as the head of the movement against Israeli occupation. According to Odeh, in 2006, Nasrallah proved himself to be highly professional. Furthermore, he sacrificed hundreds of martyrs, including his own son. His eldest son was a Hizbullah fighter who was killed by Israel in 1997.
What do you think? Does this provide enough material upon which to begin an investigation?