The official languages used in Israel for communication are Hebrew and Arabic. Besides these, there are other languages spoken in Israel including Russian, English, Amharic, Spanish, Italian, and French among others. In total, the languages used in Israel number at around 35. Some of these languages are local dialects. Although the official languages number two, English is understood by many and is widely used to communicate with foreigners. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters which do not have a case. However, only 5 letters have different forms whenever it appears at the end of the word. The Hebrew language is written from right to the left.

According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 49% of the population speaks Hebrew, 15% Russian, 18% Arabic, 2% English, 2% Yiddish 1.6% Spanish and 2% French. The other languages make up 10%. In Israel English is taught in schools leading to many young people being able to speak the language compared to the older generation.

When visiting a different country, it is advisable to learn some local phrases used in the streets. In Israel some of the local phrases include “Toda/toba raba” means thank you very much, “shalom” means peace other meaning are hello, goodbye, or used as a greeting. Others are “sababa” means alright, cool or great, “te’avon” means thanks, “l’chaim” means cheers or toast, and “tov” means good. These words among others are quite easy and learning them makes communication easy with locals.

The main languages used in Israel are Arabic and Hebrew. Several minority languages are also spoken in the country. These include Italian, Yiddish, Russian sign language, French, Spanish, German, Greek, Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Marathi, Malayalam, and Ladino among others. Other languages are Kayla and Qwara spoken by Ethiopian Jews. The Kayla and Amharic languages are near extinction.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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