Israeli-Arab towns are enshrining Palestinian history

Twenty years ago, when MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) was a member of the Haifa city council, he lobbied vigorously to have the name of Hatzionut (Zionism) Avenue changed to Street of the Mountain (Al-Jabal), which had been its name prior to Israel’s establishment in 1948. He also talked about his dream: that anybody who came to Haifa in the future, and who ask where a particular place was situated, could very well receive a response along the lines of: “It’s on Gamal Abdel Nasser Street, between Edward Said and Land Day streets.”

In large measure, Odeh’s dream has come true: The public space of Arab society in Israel, and especially in locales with Arab majorities, is today rife with streets, squares, institutions and monuments whose names commemorate personalities, events, concepts and places that reference Palestinian history, and specifically those that have an association with Israel’s Arab community.

Pass through an Arab town or city today and you’ll find yourself on streets that truly are named for Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser; Land Day (an annual commemoration of the killings of six Arab citizens in 1976 during protests against the state’s appropriation of Arab-owned land), or the late Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said; and public


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s