Interesting phrasing in NYT article about archaeology in Israel
The New York Times has an interesting article by Isabel Kershner about the (2013) discovery of an ancient synagogue in Migdal and especially its carved stone block that seems to depict the Second Temple – during the Second Temple period.
The archaeologists in charge of the excavations say that this proves that Second Temple-era synagogues served more of a sacred role than a community center role, as many (but not all) had assumed.
But one sentence may reveal the NYT’s way of looking at Jews and Arabs in Israel:
In contrast to the current tensions over the contested site in Jerusalem that is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, where the ancient temples once stood, and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the Magdala project has emphasized religious harmony. The land belongs to a Roman Catholic religious order, the Legionaries of Christ, and the archaeologists who are managing the dig and who found the stone are Dina Avshalom-Gorni, an Israeli Jew, and Arfan Najar, a Muslim.
So why does the article emphasize that the Jewish researcher is Israeli but not the Muslim?
It could be because Palestinians hate when people refer to Israeli Arabs – they claim that they should all be called “Palestinian” (or , in Arabic, “1948 Arabs.”) My guess is that the NYT has accepted that argument and does not want to refer to Israeli Muslims or Israeli Arabs for fear of offending anti-Israel Palestinians by being accurate.
A 2012 NYT article by Jodi Rudoren about the very topic of self-identification among a subset of Israeli Arabs pre-judged the NYT’s mindset by starting off with
NAZARETH, Israel — Three young Palestinian women sat on the floor at a summer camp this week surrounded by Legos and 3-year-olds. As the toddlers played, the women taught them the color of each block, repeating the words in Arabic, azrak for blue or akhdar for green.
But the seemingly simple scene here in the Galilee was actually caught up in some of the most contentious issues confronting Israeli society: How do Arabs reconcile their identity as citizens of a Jewish state? What is the appropriate role for a growing Arab minority in a state determined to be democratic and Jewish?
Clearly, the NYT has answered that question for all Israeli Arabs by calling them “Palestinian” before asking the question itself.
I don’t know how Arfan Najar refers to himself, but clearly the NYT is leaning towards the Palestinian insistence on their terminology and away from the Israeli views, even though thousands of Israeli Arabs live proudly as Israelis.
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