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Hebrew lessons prove popular in Gaza schools
Published Wednesday 13/02/2013 (updated) 24/02/2013 10:09
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Students in Gaza have reacted positively to a pilot project to offer Hebrew as an elective subject to ninth-graders in the enclave.

Around 70 percent of schoolchildren in Gaza have chosen Hebrew over French or healthcare since it was introduced to the curriculum in 16 schools this academic year, a Ma'an reporter said.

"Teaching Hebrew as an elective course started this school year in 16 schools, and it will be taught in all schools across the Gaza Strip if it is successful," Ministry of Education official Mustafa Marzouq told Ma'an.

Ninth-grader Ahmad al-Harazin told Ma'an he chose to learn Hebrew because of its similarities to Arabic and because it is spoken by Gaza's neighbors.

"The Hebrew language is very easy to learn, and sometimes I exchange some words I learn in Hebrew with my father," Ahmad said.

Imad Baaluosha, principal of al-Shafi boys school, said Hebrew had been taught in Gaza before the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.

He said his students enjoyed the subject and that it was an important addition to the Palestinian curriculum.

Twenty years ago, many of Gaza's 1.7 million Palestinians could speak and understand Hebrew from having worked in Israel or spending time in prison there.

But Gaza has been largely isolated from Israel since 1994, when it gained limited self-rule through interim peace deals and Israel shut its gates to most Gazan laborers.

Today, younger adults generally can speak only Arabic despite living next door to Israel and using its shekel currency.

Hebrew is not a part of the school curriculum in the West Bank.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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1 ) Mel / USA
13/02/2013 17:27
Strange really,seeing as Arabic is the 3rd most popular language study in USA now,apart from Spanish&Chinese!All those centuries in the Holy Land of Semitic Jews&Arabs,living side by side,trading,intermarrying even,albeit both under foreign mandate rule & having to trade in the currency of the OCCUPIER.Then Palestinians had no choice,after 1948-67,under Zionism,but speak the language of occupation,&use the occupiers currency,to earn & survive.Maybe I'll learn Hebrew too,when Palestine IS FREE!!!

2 ) Outlier / USA
13/02/2013 18:27
Why not? When peace is finally achieved, Israel and Gaza will still be neighbors. It is always good to communicate with one's neighbor.

3 ) Paul / Africa
13/02/2013 19:18
Mel / USA: Funny how you judge so much from so afar. Maybe you should go live in the Middle East to even begin ti understand it. Then again, living on occupied Red Indian lands doent say much about your views.

4 ) Outsider / EU
13/02/2013 19:49
One day this conflict will be over, and the bi- and trilinguals will have a huge advantage over the others on either side of the border.

5 ) Mel / USA
14/02/2013 01:24
#3:Paul/Africa: Actually to refer to them as "Red Indian" is very insulting,Sir.We respectfully call them First Nations. And,we could always talk of the British,Euro imperialist invasions & theocratic colonization,pillage,human destruction,resource looting,human trafficking,embezzlement,torture/rape of the treasure continent of AFRICA over the last 400 YEARS?Or is that too close to home for you?

6 ) Abdul-Rahman / Canaan not Khazaria
14/02/2013 02:04
On the Khazar "Jews"; Dr. Eran Elhaik "The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses". And on language see linguists Ghil'ad Zuckermann noting the "modern Hebrew" language is a European hybrid language! And linguist Paul Wexler (quoted by Dr. Elhaik) has a very good academic book entitled "The Schizoid Nature of Modern Hebrew: A Slavic Language in Search of a Semitic Past"

7 ) Melson / USA
14/02/2013 04:59
This conflict will be over only then, when both side will go towards big compromises! Learn the languege meanwhile, i hope both sides will benefit from it.

8 ) Melson / USA
14/02/2013 05:06
@3, southern levant was occupied by arabs too. the "indians" of the region for sure are not the arabs ... nor jews. @1, you probably will never learn hebrew, because a jew-hater is not a attitude, it's a diagnosis!

9 ) THE HOLY BIBLE WAS GIVEN / TO HUMANITY IN HEBREW
14/02/2013 07:02
do you know why? Have you thought about it?

10 ) gabi / australia
14/02/2013 07:44
Paul, funny how you judge Mel from so far. You don;t need to live in the Middle East to understand apartheid - nor did you have to live in Africa to understand it back then. And Paul seems to be a European name - surely you are not of European heritage, living on African land?????

11 ) Mel / USA
14/02/2013 15:53
#8:"Melson!"Original!LOL!"Jew-hater"?Is that all you've got?I must remember to tell some of my close friends(for 60yrs)who're Jewish,still have ink on their forearm&refuse to go to ISRAEL!You'd call them"self-hating Jews"coz they're also anti-Jabotinsky-Nazi-ZIONISM!More on the Liberal,"moral responsibility",intelligent Arnie Wolf & Abe Heschel side,(if you know who they are?).Israel's political Zionism is to Judaism what Nazism is to Christianity&Salafism is to Islam.ANTITHETICAL,myopic&racist!

12 ) Maureen / Australia
24/02/2013 22:56
#9. Rubbish! I would say the reason is, to know the language of ones enemy/jailer is essential!
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