The Israeli population is a linguistically and culturally diverse community. The 15th edition of Ethnologue lists 33 languages and dialects spoken in local communities. The main language used for communication among Israeli citizens is Modern Hebrew, a language that emerged in the late 19th century, based on different dialects of ancient Hebrew and somewhat influenced by many languages (Jewish languages, Slavic languages, Arabic, Aramaic, German and others). Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel.
According to a 2011 Government Social Survey of Israelis over 20 years of age in 2011: 49% report Hebrew as their mother tongue, Arabic 18%, Russian 15%, Yiddish 2%, French 2%, English 2%. 1.6% report Spanish and 10% - other languages. 90% of Jews and over 60% of Arabs have a good understanding of Hebrew.
Hebrew // (עִבְרִית ʿIvrit [ʔivˈʁit] ( listen) or [ʕivˈɾit] ( listen)) is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Hebrews/Israelites and their ancestors. The earliest examples of written Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE.
Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language by around 200 CE, and survived into the medieval period only as the language of Jewish liturgy and rabbinic literature. Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language, and, according to Ethnologue, is now the language of 9 million people worldwide, of whom 7 million are from Israel. The United States has the second largest Hebrew speaking population, with about 221,593 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.
The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia, and the Nile Valley and Nile Delta of northeast Africa. The term was popularized by University of Chicago archaeologist James Henry Breasted. Having originated in the study of ancient history, the concept soon developed and today retains meanings in international geopolitics and diplomatic relations.
In current usage, the Fertile Crescent has a minimum extent and a maximum extent. All definitions include Mesopotamia, the land in and around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The modern-day countries with significant territory within the Fertile Crescent are Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Occupied Palestinian territories, besides the southeastern fringe of Turkey and the western fringe of Iran.
Egyptian hieroglyphs 32 c. BCE
Kana (from Chinese) 8 c. CE
The Hebrew Bible (also Hebrew Scriptures, Jewish Bible (Judaica Bible); Latin: Biblia Hebraica) is a term used by biblical scholars to refer to the Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ"ך), the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is the common textual source of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few others).
The content, to which the Protestant Old Testament closely corresponds, does not act as source to the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic, nor to the Anagignoskomena portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. The term does not comment upon the naming, numbering or ordering of books, which varies with later Christian biblical canons.
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages originating in the Near East whose living representatives are spoken by more than 470 million people across much of Western Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. They constitute a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. The most widely spoken Semitic languages today are Arabic (206 million native speakers), Amharic (27 million), Hebrew (about 7 million), Tigrinya (6.7 million), and Aramaic (about 2.2 million).]citation needed[
Semitic languages are attested in written form from a very early date, with Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from around the middle of the third millennium BC in Mesopotamia and the northern Levant respectively. However, most scripts used to write Semitic languages are abjads — a type of alphabetic script that omits some or all of the vowels, which is feasible for these languages because the consonants in the Semitic languages are the primary carriers of meaning. Among them are the Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, and South Arabian alphabets. The Ge'ez alphabet, used for writing the Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, is technically an abugida — a modified abjad in which vowels are notated using diacritic marks added to the consonants. Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script and the only official Semitic language of the European Union.
The revival of the Hebrew language was a process that took place in Europe and Palestine toward the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, through which the language's usage changed from the sacred language of Judaism to a spoken and written language used for daily life in Israel. The process began as Jews started arriving in Palestine in the first half of the nineteenth century and used Hebrew as a lingua franca. However, a parallel development in Europe changed Hebrew from primarily a sacred liturgical language into a literary language which played a key role in the development of nationalist educational programs. Modern Hebrew, along with Modern Arabic, has been an official language in Israel since the British Mandate for Palestine, a situation that continued after Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. More than purely a linguistic process, the revival of Hebrew was utilized by Jewish modernization and political movements, and became a tenet of the ideology associated with settlement of the land, a safe homeland, Zionism and Israeli policy.
The process of Hebrew's return to regular usage is unique; there are no other examples of a natural language without any native speakers subsequently acquiring several million such native speakers, and no other examples of a sacred language becoming a national language with millions of "first language" speakers.