Command of Arabic among Israeli Jews

Yehouda Shenhav, Maisalon Dallashi, Rami Avnimelech, Nissim MizrachiYonatan (Yoni) Mendel
Publisher Van Leer Institute Press
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2015
Series Manarat: The Van Leer Center for Jewish-Arab Relations

Command of Arabic among Israeli Jews is a report that presents the preliminary findings of a study examining in depth the command of Arabic and attitudes toward that language in a representative sample of the Jewish population in Israel. The report presents preliminary findings regarding reading, writing, speech, and comprehension. It sheds light on the command of Arabic (or lack thereof) among Israeli Jews and on their attitudes toward Arabic, with an emphasis on intergenerational differences among those originating in Arab countries.

The report reveals that only a marginal minority of Israeli Jews have a reasonable command of Arabic (writing, reading, comprehension, and speech) and that there are differences between Ashkenazi Jews and Mizrahi Jews and between young people and older ones in their attitudes toward the language and toward learning the language.

The study and the report are the fruits of a broad project dealing with the place of Arabic in Israel in the public space in general and in the academic space in particular. This is a joint project of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Dirasat— Arab Center for Law and Policy, and Sikkuy – the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, and is funded by the European Union. The report was written by researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, with the support of Tel Aviv University’s B.I. and Lucille Cohen Institute for Public Opinion Research and David Horowitz Institute on Society and Economy.

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