Languages in Israel
Hebrew, the language of the Bible, and Arabic are the official languages of the State of Israel. Hebrew (and Arabic too) is written from right to left.
It was less than a century and a half ago that Hebrew was still considered a language solely for prayer and completely obsolete on a day-to-day basis. The restoration of Hebrew was a vastly significant factor in the success of the Zionist dream. Updating a “dead” language was a task led virtually in its entirety by one man, Russian-born Eliezer ben Yehuda, and it is a story of extraordinary vision and drama. His biography, Tongue of the Prophets, by Robert St. John, is utterly fascinating and a perfect read for visitors to Israel.
All Israeli school children learn Hebrew, Arabic and English, and good English is spoken by virtually everyone in the country. Israel, a country peopled by many who have come from some 120 countries, is a multi-lingual country, with vast numbers of Israelis also speaking Russian, French, Spanish, Yiddish and tens of other tongues.
Almost every highway and street sign is in English as well as Hebrew (and Arabic), and English language newspapers, magazine and books are available everywhere.