Israeli Arab and Jewish Authors Get Together in ‘Harmonious Conflict’

I was just going to ignore this one, as its relationship to literature is pretty thin. But interesting that this May 3 article (and the whole of the Jerusalem Post, so far as I can tell) makes no mention of PalFest, which was going on simultaneous to the Israeli president’s celebration of “harmonious conflict.”

The dull-sounding event featured Israeli Arab and Israeli Jewish academics and authors, and was hosted by Pres. Peres. At the event, Professor Naim Araidi apparently declared that he preferred to write in Hebrew because Hebrew is a “deeper” language. Israeli Arab author Nida Houri also declared her allegiance to Hebrew in a somewhat prickly manner.

But the high point of the article is where Yonith Benhamou reports that “With characteristic humor,” President Peres Poet Yonith Benhamou said:

I don’t know any other country where children teach their mothers their mother tongue. I don’t know, either, any other [country with a] radio [station] where at the end, the announcer says ‘good bye’ in three different languages, ‘yala, lehitraot, bye’ – the first in Arabic, the second in Hebrew, and the third in English.

Ahahahahah. Pretty funny stuff. Has he ever heard of Lebanon (French, Arabic, English)?