Israeli language

israeli flag

The State of Israel is a country in the Middle East, belonging to Asia, whose capital is Jerusalem (with limited recognition). It has a population of 9 million inhabitants (97º), and an area of ​​22,072 km 2 (150º). Its human development index is very high (22nd) and its official currency is the new Israeli shekel. And what language is spoken in Israel?

What language do they speak in Israel?

Israel has an official language, Hebrew. Arabic had official status until July 2018; however, it currently has a “special status” in the country and is used on official documents by law. Both are spoken by 49% and 18% of the population, respectively. Some 90% of Jews and 60% of Arabs understand Hebrew fairly well.

Being a country of immigrants, it is common to hear different languages ​​on the streets of the cities. Languages ​​such as Russian, English, French are widely used due to migratory flows that occurred in the past. Russian is spoken by 15% of the population, followed by English, French, Yiddish and Spanish, each spoken by 2% of the Israeli population. English , furthermore, is spoken by most Israelis as a second language, and is frequently used in official logos, road signs, and product labels.

poster languages ​​languages ​​israel hebrew arabic english russian

Other minority languages ​​are Romanian, German, Amharic (Ethiopia), Georgian, Ladino (Spanish Jews), Polish, Ukrainian, Italian, Hungarian, Turkish, Persian, Kayla, Qwara, Chinese, Filipino, and Thai.

The Hebrew language

Hebrew (עִבְרִית) is spoken by virtually all Israelites, either natively or as a second language. It is used in its modern Hebrew variant. An extinct language, underwent a process of revival by the Jewish people, as part of the identity of their culture and religion. It is for official use in all areas (media, government, business, schools…).

The Arabic language

Arabic (العَرَبِيَّة ‎) is spoken by the country ‘s growing Arab minority (there are currently 1.6 million Arabs). Various dialects of it are spoken. In addition to the Arabs, 10% of the Jews who are able to speak it (17% understand it), although very few have an efficient command of the written (1.5%) and read (2.5%) language. The language is widely taught in Hebrew-speaking schools.

traffic sign israel hebrew arabic english

Since 2000, all government-issued road signs, foodstuffs, and messages must also be translated into Modern Standard Arabic. 40% of digital panels on public buses list their routes in both languages, and since 2015 Arabic is increasingly written at train stations.

The Russian language

Russian (русский язык) is by far the most widely spoken non-official language in Israel. There are 1.5 million Russian-speakers in the country due to mass migrations in the 1970s, 1990s and 2000s from the Soviet Union and, after the Soviet collapse, from the countries that formed it. Both the government and the media usually give information in Russian, written and verbal. There is also an Israeli TV channel in Russian. In education, some schools offer Russian courses.

The descendants of these Russian immigrants often choose Hebrew as their first language, although most still speak Russian, preferring to use it both at home and with Russian-speaking friends.

Share which languages ​​are spoken in Israel.

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