Elective Language Study and Policy in Israel

pp 17-64


The Status of the Four Languages in Israel

  • Malka MuchnikAffiliated withBar-Ilan University
  • , Marina NiznikAffiliated withTel Aviv University
  • , Anbessa TeferraAffiliated withTel Aviv University
  • , Tania GluzmanAffiliated withTel Aviv University

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Over one million of Russian-speaking people immigrated to Israel and became the largest Jewish ethnic group in the country. Immigration from Ethiopia to Israel culminated in a community of approximately 137,000. Most Spanish speakers in Israel, about 100,000, are Latin American immigrants who arrived since the establishment of the state. Israel absorbed over 400,000 Jews from French-speaking countries, and emigration from France is increasing nowadays.

This chapter describes the immigration history from the countries where the four languages in case are spoken, as well as a contemporary picture of these languages in Israel today. This includes language use in the media, theater, cinema, music, literature, and politics, providing a better understanding of the status of these languages in Israel and the influence on their instruction at school.