By: ANDREA MORANTE (The New York Times) and SILVANA RODRIGUEZ (The Boston Globe)
At the Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), the Israel delegations sings to the old song of “the land speaks Arabic.” The Press Conference directed by HNMUN 2018 Press Corps team during the Fourth Committee Session left The New York Times and The Boston Globe with the mission to further investigate about the inconsistent policy that the Delegation of the State of Israel has shown between its international and national policy in regards to language minorities.
According to The Legal Center for Minority Rights Adalah (LCMRA), in november 2016 an unjustified increase in Hebrew-language proficiency test scores that attempted to the Arab school candidates, portrayed a clear discrimination and harm to the “equal” status between Hebrew and Arabic language in the State of Israel. This increase of proficiency shed critique by the LCMRA due to the implications that it would have on the Arab-speaking minorities during their applications for technician studies in the future.
Furthermore, the Hebrew language was banned at hospitals by the Israeli government in 2015 during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Additionally, the separation of schools for palestinians and Jews or the total lack of arabic dictated courses at israeli universities.
These separatist actions in the course of Israel’s history leaved a notorious gap of information that left The New York Times and The Boston Globe on the search of explanation for the open policies that the Israeli delegation had placed in regards to linguistic minorities.
During the Press Conference at SOCHUM, The Boston Globe mentioned the LCMRA’s points on the discriminatory actions of the Israeli Government. Contrasting current proposals of the Israeli Delegation in SOCHUM and the actual reality of what the Israel Government has done through its legislations and reforms.
The Boston Globe placed the Delegation of Israel in a “fight or flight” situation when asked the implications that its actions regarding the statements made by the RMCA and the banning of the Hebrew language in Israeli hospitals.
According to the Delegation of Israel “the drastic measure was made to ensure that there was no danger happening in the hospitals. A lot of danger and terror happened in these facilities and, so in order to avoid these violent attack – as not everyone in Israel speaks the Arabic language- we took a measure to ensure that no harm was done to hospital patients.”
The Delegation of Israel has placed attention to the necessity of establishing educational systems that can help cooperate towards the enhancement of “national unity”. Stressing the principles of sovereignty and the respect of cultural values, Israel has mentioned the respect to its educational curriculum.
Having received a response that was avoidant on the issue of prohibitions of the practice of the Arabic language, The New York Times and The Boston Globe interviewed Israel once again. This time mentioning one of the most recent news that have appeared in the media: “The Café, Café” scandal. where employees deciding to speak arabic were recommended to quit.
The brief segment of our news report covers the outcome of the interview:
Delegate of Israel giving declarations during an interview with The Boston Globe and The New York Times
Question: With examples as those, is it truly possible that Israel seeks to improve linguistic minority rights?
Answer: Basically, when it comes to medicine, hospital, saving a live you can’t just risk it if there is a language barrier, “something that can’t happen and it is important to avoid that there is these language barrier in which you can’t really help the patient because you can’t really understand what they are saying and because the majority of people who work as staff speak in hebrew, it is to ensure that we are being efficient. But also because at that time (2014) we were trying to avoid a lot of terrorist attacks, planting bombs or causing terror in the hospitals. And I know it sound kind of harsh but it was a way for us to ensure that we knew what was happening and there weren’t any suspicious activities in the hospitals.
Question: Taking into consideration another case, in a cafeteria in Israel where the employees were shutted up because they spoke in arabic to arab customers, and the legal system did nothing to protect those rights in 2016, what can you say about it?
Answer: This is obviously something that wasn’t in our control ,we don’t employ these people. We have never said this was right or that it is okay to happen, it is a private company. The government can’t have that much interaction, we can’t just shut it out because there is a lot of interaction between the public and the private sector.
This is 2018 and we are trying to bring more diversity, so we don’t support the idea of not speaking a certain language. We are trying to reduce the stigma that surrounds the arab israeli conflict.
Although the interview with the Delegation of The State of Israel provided further details of the context and past events of its government, inconsistency remains as a gap between actions and words. Israel has placed hopes on the SOCHUM committee for an improvement on its policies towards linguistic minorities. However, critique should be raised to this stance, as it is the set of realistic goals that achieves more when compared to optimistic hopes.