by Arthur Milner
Five years ago, on a trip to Israel, my rented car was vandalized. Reporting the incident at a Jerusalem police station, I noticed that signs were posted in Hebrew and English, but not in Arabic. I thought that odd. Returning to Israel this past April, camera in hand, I went in search of local signage.
I spent a week in Tel Aviv, and a few days driving through the Galilee (northern Israel). Here, with my annotations, are photographs of what I found. These are accompanied by information about language in Israel, which, except where otherwise noted, is made up of excerpts (lightly edited for brevity) from “Language in Israeli Society and Education,” a 1997 paper by Bernard Spolsky and Elana Shohamy (which may be found at www.tau.ac.il/education/homepg/shohamy.html).
Spolsky and Shohamy are professors at Bar-Ilan and Tel Aviv universities, respectively, and coauthors of The Languages of Israel: Policy, Ideology and Practice (Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 1999). I am grateful for permission to quote at length from their paper.