23 September, 2006

Hebraic Happiness

In the first mention of the Hebrew language in a good light in our local media, educators have voiced their opinions about promoting the learning of the language in Arab countries to reciprocate the learning of the Arabic language in Israel, where Arabic is one of the official langauges.

I'm all for it! Please go ahead and start teaching Hebrew to those who want to learn the language in universities and colleges, if not in schools. I speak a little bit of Hebrew myself, though it's not very advanced and my vocabulary is comparable to that of a six-year-old Jewish Israeli child. I wonder if I should teach it to those who are interested... I mean, I've learnt this language with the help of certain books and people and now it would be nice to 'pass it on'.

Though, I'm opposed to the reason behind the people's desire to learn the language. In the article, people say they want to learn it so they can know their enemy. Why not 'know thy neighbor'? It's about time the two sides stopped seeing each other as 'the enemy' and let the ordinary people communicate and connect with each other so they can hurry the hell up and get the peace process started!

It was nice to read such an open-minded article about Hebrew on the first day of the new Jewish year - yes, today is Tishri 1st, 5767, and also Ramadan 1st, 1427, the first of the 30 [or 29, depending on the moon] 14-hour-long fasts. Yom Kippur, the 25-hour-long fast for Jews falls on October 2nd - Tishri 10th, so Jews and Muslims will be fasting together. Here's to a month of peace! 

7 comments:

DG said...

Kiwiboby, thanks for the post. I fully agree with your opinion.

Lirun, I salute you my brother. I think Gulf News was inspired by your comments on UAE based blogs. By the way, Happy New Year :-)

beauregard bordon said...

Wish there were more people like Dg and Lirun around. The world would be a happy little place.

BD said...

I can see the relevance of expecting some Israelis to take up an interest in Arabic as the country sits as an island in an Arabic sea, but this reasoning hardly works the other way around. Thinking for example that a resident of the Emirates will have any need for Hebrew is little different than suggesting he learn the language of the Hmong in mountaineous regions of Southeast Asia. It would be far better to talk about learning a bit of Tagalog, Bengali or any of the other multitude of languages spoken by people who actually live here.

psamtani said...

And let's not forget that most UAE residents (myself included) do not even speak Arabic. Frankly, I think the first thing the government should do is encourage the teaching of Arabic to non-Arabs.

I remember that when I was in school, I could only take Arabic until a certain grade level, after which I had to choose between Hindi, Urdu and French. I took a few Arabic classes as an adult, but if only the school continued to teach Arabic then, I would've been a fluent speaker.

Back then we all believed it was a conspiracy to keep expatriates reliant on locals for their language needs, now of course that sounds stupid - but does anyone know the rationale behind not teaching Arabic in schools while teaching three other languages?!?!

bandicoot said...

Nothing against Hebrew (a language I'd love to learn if I have the time), but I agree with bd as to which languages are more relevant to the people in this country/region. This sudden interest in Hebrew reminds me of the announcement by a loclal governmental body few years ago that they decided to teach their personnel German to help them communicate better with an influx of German tourists!

DG said...

I believe both Jews & Muslims should make serious effort to understand each other. If Imam Abu Hanifa can live peacefully with a Jew neighbor, then why can't we, the muslims of 21st century live in peace with a Jewish country. Whatever has happened, has happened. Force & violence will not solve anything. Why not use the path of negotiation.

All of us are children of Adam & no one is going to live forever in this world. Then why all this fight over a temporary thing which does not even belong to us. Enough violence & bloodshed.

Lirun said...

wow.. i missed this post.. dont quite know how.. thanks for the kind words people..

very encouraging!!

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