From the Hebrew Bedouin to Israeli Arabic: The Lives and Afterlives of Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine
Fri, November 5, 2010 • 4:00 PM • Texas Union, Governor's Room (3.116)
Lital Levy, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University
This talk traces the relationship of Arabic and Hebrew in Israel/Palestine, following Jewish-Israeli visions of Arabic from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, from an early stage when Arabic was romanticized by some Zionists as a model of autochthonous “authenticity” to current perceptions of Arabic as the symbolic language of the enemy and the instrumental language of military intelligence. It discusses the role of Arabic within the creation of Modern Hebrew culture; the fate of Arabic in the statehood era, particularly vis-à-vis Palestinian-Israelis and Mizrahi Jews; and literary translation between Arabic and Hebrew. It also illustrates how, despite policies of enforced separation between the two languages, colloquial Arabic and Hebrew have interpenetrated one another.