(JNi.media) The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday approved a bill by MK Oren Hazan (Likud), making it mandatory for all Jewish students in Israel to learn spoken Arabic, starting in the first grade, while Arab students will be required to learn Hebrew at the same age. “I am delighted that during the peak of a new wave of terrorism, the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs, together with Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who helped, has accepted a bill of this magnitude,” said MK Hazan in response. “The proposal is the government’s message to the public regarding acts promoting coexistence and calming spirits.”
Hazan continued: “Especially these days, when terrorism prevails and coexistence is undermined, it is important to lower the flames and to create a bridge made up of language, cultural understanding and rapprochement among the citizens of the state, and there is nothing better than understanding the language to understand the culture and mentality of a million and a half Arab citizens in Israel and hundreds of millions of Arabic speakers across the Middle East.”
The young Knesset member, who has been the target of every establishment figure in Israel across the political spectrum, after he entered the Knesset, over what many saw as a checkered past (he was accused of ingesting hard drugs despite the fact that he suffers from a respiratory disease that makes such an activity deadly), said that the “approval of the law of Hebrew and Arabic study in the first grade for all students in Israel is a binding bridge. I have no doubt that when the Jewish public will understand the Arabic language as the Arab public will understand the Hebrew language, we will all see better days.”
The Ministerial Legislation Committee is composed of representatives of all the factions in the coalition, and its decisions are binding to all Knesset coalition members, so chances are this bill will become a law in short order.
And so, unexpectedly, an MK whom Defense Minister Ya’alon accused of disgracing the Likud, and the Israeli police were looking for ways to indict for managing a casino in Bulgaria before taking office — ended up suggesting a concrete solution to the yawning gap between Arabs and Jews.
At this stage of the game, many new Hazan fans in Israel argue that, so far, neither Ya’alon nor the police have come up with anything nearly as promising.