Maggie is the receptionist of Hanan Ashrawi, PhD, PLO Executive Committee Member, Department of Culture and Information.
Waiting for Hanan, I look at Maggie’s Kharta (the map handing behind the reception desk).
Kharta means a map in Arabic, and in Hebrew slang kharta means fake or imagined. The Hebrew slang originates, I think, from this very map, where even the city of Tel Aviv doesn’t exist. I say “I think” because not many Israelis speak Arabic and there are not many to ask.
A few months ago, for example, Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech in which he spoke about the uniqueness of Israel. He mentioned the word “dugri,” meaning something like “straight,” and said that no other culture has such a word, only Hebrew. The Israelis, he was pointing out to the world, are the straightest people of the world
and that’s why they have an additional word for straight. If he, or his listeners, only knew that dugri comes from the Arabic durgri, which means, what a surprise, straight.
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