Monday, March 19, 2007

Way Off Tune

Bradley Burston of Haaretz has an on-site blog there. He recently blogged about Israel's national anthem not being sung by a cabinet minister, Raleb Majadele, writing "It's time its words were changed. It's time it was replaced by an anthem that all Israelis can sing in good conscience, non-Jews as well as Jews. An anthem in which more than a million Arab citizens can join in full voice".

He then quoted from a TV transcript of an interview the minister had:

"Hatikva speaks to Jews - 'a Jews soul yearns," he told news anchor Liat Regev, when asked if he would sing the anthem. "You want an Arab to sing something like that?"

Regev: "You know, there's perhaps some sort of expectation that a person who is appointed to a cabinet minister in Israel will identity with all the symbols of the state, including the national anthem."

"Majadele: Where is it written that a person appointed to be a cabinet minister in Israel must stop being an Arab, and turn into a member of a different religion and ethnicity?

"Is this the enlightened, free democratic state that we wanted to see in Israel? Tell me, please - the Jewish cabinet ministers who were in Arab governments in Morocco and elsewhere, were they told that from the moment they were sworn in, that they had become Muslims?"

I have one question: would a Jewish minister of any Moroccan government dare to stand up and not sing the Moroccan anthem? Would he dare to be interviewed on Morccan TV and explain why the words of the Moroccan anthem do not mean anything to him?

What Jew could find anything wrong in these words:

In my mouth and in my blood
Your breezes have stirred both light and fire.
Up! my brethren, strive for the highest.
We call to the world that we are here ready.
We salute as our emblem
God, Homeland, and King.

Okay, maybe I could.

But, Minister Majadele, do you really believe that a Jew could do that...and live? Or at least maintain his position?

Come one, no, Majadele, let's be truthful: you're an Arab nationalist who doesn't really believe Israel should be here and you can't stand the implications of HaTikvah.

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