I enjoyed this Michael Kinsley
post last year more than anything I'd read in
a long time, because it speaks to a big frustration of mine: while (contrary to
most blogger stereotypes) I appreciate the importance of reporting, I can't
stand reading most straight news writing.
The debt-ceiling fight has been the dominant story out of
Washington for weeks, and for the most part the White House hasn't looked too
good. But in the last few days, the administration has taken some serious steps
forward on other fronts.
Arabic is an official Israeli language. About half of Israeli Jews have heritages stemming from Arabic-speaking countries. Despite this, only about 10 percent of Israeli Jews understand Arabic well, even though one poll indicated 58 percent of Israelis think it is important to learn the language. The Israeli school system teaches a formal version of the language, not the dialect used on the streets. Gilad Sevitt has attempted to rectify this gap with a series of free YouTube videos teaching Arabic with the name Madrasa (school in Arabic). The language instruction videos have become popular, especially with 18- to 34-year-olds. Palestinians, Jordanians, and Saudis have also used it in reverse, to teach Hebrew. Groups have formed on Facebook and in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to study the videos together (The Christian Science Monitor, July 17).