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Last Updated on October 26, 2012

Israel Official Languages  – Hebrew & Arabic.

Hebrew: שפות רשמיות בישראל

 hebrew official language

There are two official languages in Israel; Hebrew and Arabic.

As well as being the  language of the Bible and Jewish prayer, Hebrew is also the spoken language of Israel.  Every school-going child is required to learn Hebrew. Hebrew is read from right to left. If you are living in Israel being able to communicate in Hebrew is very important. 

English is not an official language but it is widely used.  English is required as a second language in schools and at universities.  Israel is one of the hi-tech centers of the world and many international companies have offices here.  Depending on where you are in Israel, you may be able to get by with English only.  In the tourist capitals; Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Eilat, English is widely spoken. Raanana, Kfar Saba, Modiin, Ramat Bet Shemesh, to name but a few, have  large English speaking communities.

Know who’s near.  Find English speaking professionals in your area.

There is a large, and rapidly growing, French speaking community in Israel and a large Ethiopian community who speak Amharic.  Russian is widely spoken.  There are approximately 1,000,000 Russian immigrants living in Israel.  With an immigrant population from some 100 countries, there is hardly a language that is not spoken in Israel.

If you are visiting Israel for the very first time, here are a few Hebrew key words you should learn:


Shalom – שלום Shalom means; hello, goodbye and peace.
LeHitra’ot – להתראות LeHitraot means: see you later
Betay’avon – בתאבון Betayavon means: bon appetite
Savlanut – סבלנות Savlanut means: patience
Boker tov – בוקר טוב Bokertov means: good morning
ערב טוב – Erev Tov Erev tov means: good evening
קמה זה עולה – Kama ze oleh Kama ze oleh means: how much does this cost
סליחה -Slicha Slicha means: sorry
BeVakasha – בבקשה BeVakasha means: please
Todah – תודה Todah means: thank you


Want to improve your Hebrew? You might like these…

Learn new Hebrew words & phrases with our free word sheets, by topic

Ulpan database

A selection of household bills translated from Hebrew to English

Automated answering machines translated from Hebrew to English

Speak like an Israeli, learn Hebrew slang


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