What Languages are Spoken in Israel?

Many ethnic groups are living in Israel. Israel is located in the Middle East. It is a small size area with a population of about 8.9 million people. Many people from different cultures immigrated to Israel and the interaction of different ethnicities resulted in the emergence of different languages. As per the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics,49% of the population speaks Hebrew, 15% Russian, 18% Arabic, 20% French, 2% English, and 1.6 % Spanish. The other languages that are spoken in Israel are 10%. At present English language is taught in schools so that Israelis can communicate with the global world easily.

Important languages of Israel

As per the 21st edition of Ethnologue, there are 34 languages spoken in Israel. Out of these languages, 15 languages are non-indigenous and 19 are indigenous. The official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. Both of these languages are spoken by the common population of Israel. Hebrew is taught by Arab teachers in school and the Arabic language is spoken by minorities of the region. English was once the official language of Israel. But with time, the English language lost its significance to some extent. At present English language is taught in schools and universities so that Israelis can communicate with the global world easily.

Languages Spoken In Israel

There are a plethora of languages that are spoken in Israel. Let’s have a look at the number of languages that are used in Israel.

Hebrew

Hebrew is the everyday speaking language of Israel. This language was revived after 150 years, and people considered it a miracle. The revival of Hebrew was not easy and it faced opposition from other languages, mainly from Yiddish to become a pivotal language of the Zionist project. It is also considered as the language of a religious sect called Judaism. Arab schools in Israel teach the Hebrew language to the children until they reach the third grade. Israeli children need to pass the Hebrew exam to get enrolled. The older version of Hebrew has taken many loan words from other languages like Arabic, Latin, and Greek Persian, and many other languages like Akkadian and Canaanite languages. The form of Hebrew that is used today is instigated as the biblical language and its scripts follow old Hebrew written form. The phonation of Modern Hebrew is a revised form created on the Sephardic (Hispano-Portuguese) pronunciation. The modern version of Hebrew comprises many old Hebrew dialects that are influenced by many other languages like Arabic, Aramaic, German, and English together with Jewish and Slavic languages.

 Arabic

Arabic is the second official language of Israel. It is spoken by 20% of the total population of Israel that includes Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish people from the Arab world. There is an important dialect of Arab language which is called Levantine Arabic and it is spoken by many Israeli Arabs. The Arabic dialect that is spoken in Israel is similar to Bedouin Arabic dialect and Palestinian Arabic. In the Northern part of Israel, the Lebanese Arabic dialect is spoken by Druze and Arabs. The older generation of Jews known as Mizrahi Jews speaks Judeo-Arabic languages. In the 2000 era, no signboard, food labels, road signs, and government messages were seen in the Arabic language, but now the situation is different. Many people speak Hebrew and Arabic well in Israel.

Russian

Although Russian is not the official language of Israel. Due to the immigration of Russian Jews, it is spoken by 20% of Israelis. Russian is considered an important language in Israel, and a local TV station in Israel is working in the Russian language.  

English

English is one of the important languages of Israel since the dominance of British people.  Although English does not have official status in Israel, it still holds a significant position while dealing with foreign affairs relations. English used in Israel follows American spellings and grammar.

Most of the Israelis speak the English language because it is the second language used in schools. Only 2% of Israelis speak English as their first language. The English language revived in 1960 in Israel when Israel developed its relationships with America. English is not used in Israeli politics, and many laws were translated in Hebrew. 

The Revival of Hebrew Language

Let’s talk about the revival of the Hebrew language. It used to be Judaism’s sacred language, but with time it became an official language of Israeli and is widely spoken in daily life. The arrival of Jews from different countries in Israel and their amalgamation with the Jewish community that was called Palestine in the 19th century stimulated the older generation of Arabic speaking Jewish to speak Hebrew.  The revival of the Hebrew language is a miracle of its kind that is not shown in the history of languages. It used to be a dead language but emerged as a live language with millions of native speakers.  

Wrapping Up

The existence of multiple ethnicities and use of indigenous and non-indigenous languages in Israel highlights the significance of language services. If you want the translation of your documents in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian or English language, CCJK has got you covered. We have a team of native translators that are proficient linguists and provide impeccable document translation services in more than 120 languages at a fast turnaround time. For more details, Contact us.

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