English is widely spoken in Israel
Language in Israel
The most important colloquial languages are Hebrew and Arabic. Modern Hebrew (Ivrit / Iwrit) is derived from the old Biblical Hebrew and expanded with a modern vocabulary. The Hebrew scholars who immigrated from Europe did an incredible job here. The problem was that Hebrew had died out as a colloquial language for centuries, but was still alive as a religious language in worship. Thus an ancient language had been preserved that had to be expanded to meet the needs of modern society. In the meantime, Hebrew has become so anchored in people's everyday lives that, as with other languages, slangs and dialects as well as new slang phrases have developed. As a result, the language has on the one hand become applicable everywhere, on the other hand it is rapidly moving away from the old model of ancient Hebrew. For centuries it was Yiddish, a mixture of Hebrew, German and Slavic languages, a widely spoken slang for many European Jews. When the State of Israel was founded, there were quite a few votes in favor of introducing Yiddish as the national language. Even today there are still many - especially older - Israelis who understand Yiddish. Yiddish is also spoken in some Jewish Orthodox settlement communities such as Mea Shearim (in West Jerusalem).Arabic is the language of the Palestinians and the Arab Israelis. They speak a Palestinian dialect that is similar to the dialects in Syria and Jordan. In addition, the vast majority of Palestinians understand Standard Arabic, a form of language that is usually reserved for news and religious matters. As a tourist you can get very far with English. Young people are used to English through school and the media. Also, many Israeli Jews have relatives in America. Many of the young Palestinians speak English too. One of the reasons for this is that the entire Israel-Palestine-Jordan region was once a British mandate. French is rarely spoken. Russian is also widespread. In the last few decades in particular, many Jewish immigrants have immigrated from Eastern Europe and the areas of the former Soviet Union. Many families of Russian descent still speak Russian after years of immigration. Older Jewish Israelis who fled Eastern Europe during the Second World War grew up speaking multilingual in their homeland. They often spoke German, Yiddish, Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish at the same time. Former Hungarian Jews could also often understand German or Yiddish. But because of their old age, the number of these multilingual Jews of Eastern European origin is shrinking. Your Israeli children and grandchildren usually only learn Hebrew and English.Many Jewish Israelis understand German. Especially those who or whose parents immigrated from Germany or Eastern Europe. However, this does not always mean that you like to talk in German. Many lost relatives in the Holocaust and therefore no longer want to speak German. On the other hand, older Jews of German origin may well have fond childhood memories of Germany and therefore like to hear and speak German. Even all those who still have a good command of Yiddish can usually understand German, as both languages have a large common vocabulary. At the Western Wall and in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, it is better to keep your mouth shut and avoid speaking German if possible. It can happen that some Jewish visitors feel offended by hearing the German language given the oppressive atmosphere of the place.
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