Newsweek

Why Israel Is Moving to Downgrade Arabic Language

In Israel, Arabic has long been a quasi-official language. It may soon get a tacit demotion
Palestinian school girls walk in line past the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on October 27, 2015. Israeli lawmakers on Sunday approved a new version of a nation-state bill that would demote Arabic as an official language.
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Source: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty

In Israel, Arabic has long been taught in schools, spoken in the parliament and posted on road signs. It is not the official language, but neither is Hebrew, the mother tongue of most of the country. Instead, a law on the books since the British ruled the territory has mandated that all official correspondences be published in Arabic, English and Hebrew. (Israeli leaders removed English from that list after the country’s independence in 1948.)

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