English-Only Academe? The Question of the Language of the Humanities and the Social Sciences in Israel

Tuesday ,13 March, 2018 , 09:30 to 15:00


Israel’s higher education system is becoming increasingly integrated into the international academic community. This process has many positive aspects but also dangerous ramifications. One of those ramifications is the growing rift between scholars and the local society and culture.

Israeli scholars are required to publish in international forums. This has led to many scholars publishing only in English, especially in the humanities and the social sciences. They are thus increasingly losing the ability to think, study, and write in the local language, and in fact to communicate with the society. The main consequences of this phenomenon are: The detachment of the scholars and lecturers in the humanities and the social sciences from the local language impoverishes both the thinking and the language. Writing in a foreign language often tends toward meagerness and superficiality, and supports an entire underground industry of low-level translators. Weakening the link between academe and the public, and the scant resonance of the rich research conducted in the academic institutions all contribute to the declining popularity of academic studies in the humanities and the social sciences.

The gathering will be attended by researchers and officials in the higher education system who will discuss the erosion of the status of the Hebrew language in the Israeli academic world. They will also discuss the special, and even more fragile, state of Arabic in Israel's academe.