04.06.2011 2.Siwan, 5771 Nasso; Tag 46 des Omer
The mass flight of Haifa's Arabs remains one of the most contested events of the 1948 war. Yet despite strong evidence to support Arab claims, Israeli historians remain economical with the truth. Here's the story they don't want you to know.
Two months ago, the Knesset passed the Budget Principles Law (Amendment 39 ), more popularly known as the "Nakba Law." The ostensibly procedural clause is intended to prevent institutions that receive state funding from marking the "day of the catastrophe" – which is how the Palestinians refer to May 15, 1948, the day the British Mandate in Palestine came to an end.
Paradoxically, it is the determined attempt to erase the day from the Israeli-Jewish consciousness that has increased awareness of the Nakba among Jews. Recent months saw a surge in Internet searches for the word "Nakba," according to Google Trends (which shows word-search patterns on the Web ). The index shows the usual yearly leap in English and Arabic ahead of May, but indicates an unprecedentedly huge increase in Hebrew this year. Clearly, the unusually large scope of events on Nakba Day last month contributed to the growing public interest and heightened the emotional content of the term – sometimes absurdly so. Two weeks ago, for example, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union ) objected to the decision to hang a painting titled "The Citrus Grower" in the Knesset building. According to Eldad, the work is a "Nakba painting." The painting, by Eliyahu Arik Bokobza, is based on a pastoral photograph taken in 1939, showing a rural Arab family dressed in traditional garb, with orange trees in the background. In his complaint to the Knesset speaker, Eldad wrote, "Why do you want to add an artistic expression by an Israeli artist with a twisted mind and afflicted by self-hate, who is calling the Arab lie the truth and thereby rejecting our truth?"…