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TA Mayor: Keep Arabic Out of Town Symbol (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By David Lev 08/06/12)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/158652#.UCCSK_Ygeuk INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Despite a major media campaign and pressure from residents of Jaffa, the Tel Aviv City Council on Monday rejected a proposal to change the official symbol of the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa to include Arabic text.

The proposal, by Meretz city council member Ahmad Mashwari, was rejected by the council and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who said that including the text for the name of the city in Arabic was not necessary “because the vast majority of the population of Tel Aviv- Jaffa is Jewish.”

Mashwari said in recent interviews that he was proposing the change “because Tel Aviv is a multi-cultural city, a fact that the mayor takes great pains to point out at every opportunity. When they changed the city´s symbol several years ago, they said it was because Tel Aviv is a ´pluralistic´ city. Where is the pluralism? Now, during Ramadan, would be the perfect time for the city to acknowledge the 17,000 Arab residents of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.”

Mashwari has been interviewed numerous times for local Tel Aviv publications, as well as the national media, about his idea.

The symbol of the city has changed numerous times in its 100-plus year history. The original design, which featured a passage from the biblical Book of Jeremiah, was designed in 1924, by Israeli artist Nachum Gutman. The symbol was changed in 2000, and again in 2009 on the city´s 100th anniversary. The current symbol includes the name of the city in Hebrew and English.

Mashwari said that he didn´t see why anyone would be opposed to adding “a small line to the symbol. It would do so much towards helping the Arab population feel at home in this mixed city. I want to feel that the symbol of my city belongs to me as well. How can Tel Aviv brag about its pluralism when its symbol ignores our identity and existence as a nation with a culture and a language?”

Huldai, however, disagreed. At Monday´s City Council meeting, the mayor urged Council members to vote against the proposal, which he said was “designed to make headlines. Tel Aviv-Jaffa has a clear large majority of Jews. Over 90% of the city´s residents are Jews, and only 4% are Arab,” he said, as the Council rejected Mashwari´s proposal. (IsraelNationalNews © 2011 08/06/12)

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