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The Politics of Arabic in IsraelA Sociolinguistic Analysis$
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Camelia Suleiman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420860

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420860.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Politics of Arabic in Israel

Camelia Suleiman

Edinburgh University Press

Palestinian poet laureate, Mahmoud Darwish writes that land is inherited like language. Most accounts of Arabs in Israel focus on the lost inheritance of Arab lands. This book investigates the problematic place of the Arabic language in Israel. While Arabic is an official language of Israel, according to a law which goes back to the year 1922, during the British Mandate, it is at the same time the language of the ‘Arab’ enemies surrounding and infiltrating Israel, the language of the Palestinians who remained in Israel after 1948 and who constitute today about 20 per cent of the total population, and also the language of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is, moreover, the language of a dwindling number of speakers from the Mizrachi Jewish community. How are these seemingly contradictory positions of Arabic resolved, and what space is given to Arabic in the state? That is what this book is trying to answer.

Keywords:   Official language, British Mandate, Palestinian, Arabic

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