Such a nice country

June 20, 2009

In News

Israel’s internal security minister has apologised after being caught on film using the word “Araboosh” – highly offensive Hebrew slang for Arabs.

While Yitzhak Aharonovitch was on a tour meeting police, one plain clothes officer apologised to him for his scruffy appearance.

“What do you mean dirty? You look like a real Araboosh,” the minister was heard to respond.

He is a member of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s far right party.

Mr Aharonovitch later said he wished to “apologise to anyone who was hurt”.

“This remark does not reflect my positions or world view,” the minister said in a statement.

His far-right party, Yisrael Beiteinu, has been under fire for its policies, which have raised concerns over racism in Israel and around the world.

The party wants to make all Israeli citizens swear allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state, something that most of the fifth of the population who are Israeli-Arabs would find very difficult to do.

It has also pushed for a law to ban commemorations of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, as Palestinians call the events of 1948, when Israel was created and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in what had been British-ruled Palestine.