Hmm…If only there was some sort of device that could turn Arabs into Jews…
The biggest protests against Lavie’s name change can currently be heard within the Arab sector, which sees the proposed move as a way of disguising or removing the city’s Arab identity.
But Lavie is adamant that this is not the case. “I am not moving away from Ramle’s Arab past,” he told Ha’aretz. “I am trying to bring the Arabs closer. In fact, if I could, I would turn the Arabs into Jews. Not Jews in the religious sense, Jews in the sense of values.”
When questioned on this remark, he continued: “the values that you don’t kill a brother or sister in the street because of family honor, the values of a different threshold of violence.” But it is precisely this type of comment that is provoking many Arab residents of the city to question Lavie’s motives.
“Changing the name proves Lavie feels he has not yet finished occupying Ramle,” said Arab resident Bussina Dabbit recently.
‘Palestine Remembered,’ an Internet-based project that describes itself as the “home of all ethnically cleansed Palestinians” refers back to the events of 1948, when, it says, “on July 14th, 1948, the city’s inhabitants were ethnically cleansed [forcible expulsion] out of the city.
“From the 17,000 Palestinians who used to call Ramla (Ramle) home, only 400 people were allowed to stay.” Some observers may therefore question whether, in changing the name of the town, Lavie might be seeking to erase modern history, as well as its more ancient origins. [source]