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Published on May 27th, 2008 | by Ido Kenan


Lest the Arabs Know

Israel has a nuclear research center near Yavne, called the Soreq Nuclear Research Center. The road sign directing to it mentions the center’s name in Hebrew, an official language in Israel, and English, both saying “Soreq Nuclear Research Center Yavne”.

There’s another official language in Israel – Arabic. The sign does have an Arabic writing, but it simply says “Yavne”, no mention of anything nuclear.

Jokingly, I guessed that this was some lame attempt to prevent Arabs from knowing exactly where the nuclear center is. Apparently, I hit the spot. Here’s the response I got from the Israel National Roads Company, the governmental company which is in charge of intercity road signs: “In accordance with the decisions of old Ma’atz [the former incarnation of Israel National Roads Company] and the Ministry of Transportation, there won’t be translations to Arabic of any security/sensitive facility or army base etc., like the Israeli Israel Aerospace Industries, Bar Lev Camp [which houses the GOC Army Headquarters] or the Soreq Nuclear Research Center and other IDF bases. [all bad grammar sic]”

Is that a standing policy, or just a historic decision whose time has passed?
“Like other decisions made at the time this decision is also valid until changed.”

Soreq Nuclear Research Center road sign. photo by Ido Kenan, cc-by-sa

This post in Hebrew

About the Author

Ido Kenan is founder of Room 404, a longtime Digital Culture journalist and a raiser of two cats

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