The Arabic Language in the Zionist Regime – a Story of a Colonial Mask

Published by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, The Arabic Language in the Zionist Regime – a Story of a Colonial Mask, by Esmail Nashif approaches the issue of the Arabic language and its artefacts as a structural arena, in which the examination and re-establishment of the relations between the Palestinian citizens are performed; along with that of the state and the Zionist regime since 1948.

The attempt to describe the social history of Classical Arabic and its artefacts is based on the fundamental understanding that the state apparatuses and the Palestinians have considered Classical Arabic a symbol of the patriotism and national collectivism of the Palestinians in Israel. Those who have a command of the language, therefore, have the ability to reshape this collectivism.

Consisting of four chapters, the book addresses the structural conditions on Palestinian literacy in an arena built by the Israeli state. It goes into detail about the different journals published on literary criticism, which called for a specific technique of reading and writing in Classical Arabic; along with advocating national collectivism among the Palestinians in Israel. Nashif goes on to assess the "academization" of classical Arabic literary criticism, arguing that such processes have produced the intermediate position of the Arabic language; contributing to the reformulation of the internal dynamics of the language and other domains in the state apparatuses.

Finally, Nashif turned to the 1990s, a period that saw a significant increase in the number of civil society organizations, that adopted projects for improving the status of the Arabic language and its products in Israel; particularly among its Palestinian citizens. This inspired a group of Palestinian intellectuals to establish the Academy of the Arabic Language in Israel in 1989. This culminated in enacting the Supreme Institute of the Arabic language Law in 2007; which is largely parallel to the Supreme Hebrew language Institute Law (1953).


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