Languages of Israel

State of Israel, Medinat Israel. National or official languages: Hebrew, Standard Arabic, English. 5,984,000 (1998 UN), including 4,700,000 Jewish (1997), 805,000 Muslim, 160,000 Christian, 95,000 Druze, 300 Samaritan (1995 Central Statistics Dept., Israel). About half the Jewish people are Sephardi and half Ashkenazi. Literacy rate 88% to 92% (Jewish), 70% (Arab). Also includes Egyptian Spoken Arabic 25,000, Levantine Bedawi Spoken Arabic 50,000, North Levantine Spoken Arabic 100,000, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch 1,680, Western Farsi, French 40,000, Italian 5,435, Malayalam 8,000, Marathi 8,000, Samaritan, Samaritan Aramaic, Spanish 60,000, Turkish 30,000, Northern Uzbek, Many other languages. Information mainly from D. Gold 1974; H. Kloss and G. McConnell 1974; H. Paper 1978; W. Fischer and O. Jastrow 1980; T.K. Harris 1994; J. Fishman 1985, 1991; J. Chetrit 1985; D. Cohen 1985; B. Comrie 1987; A. Saenz-Badillos 1993; P.E. Miller 1993; Y. Mutzafi 1992-1999. Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze. Blind population 5,285. Deaf population 4,500 to 306,242 (1998). Deaf institutions: 31. The number of languages listed for Israel is 36. Of those, 33 are living languages and 3 are extinct. Diversity index 0.65.

Spoken living languages

ADYGHE

[ADY] 3,000 in Israel (1987).  Kafr Kama and Rehaniya, small border villages. Alternate names: WEST CIRCASSIAN, ADYGEY.  Classification: North Caucasian, Northwest, Circassian. 
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AMHARIC

[AMH] 40,000 in Israel (1994 H. Mutzafi).   Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal. 
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ARABIC, JUDEO-IRAQI

[YHD] 100,000 to 120,000 in Israel (1994 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries 105,000 to 125,000.  Alternate names: IRAQI JUDEO-ARABIC, JEWISH IRAQI-BAGHDADI ARABIC, ARABI, YAHUDIC.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARABIC, JUDEO-MOROCCAN

[AJU] 250,000 in Israel (1992 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries 254,000.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARABIC, JUDEO-TRIPOLITANIAN

[YUD] 30,000 in Israel, most over 40 (1994 H. Mutzafi). Population total both countries 35,000.  Alternate names: TRIPOLITANIAN JUDEO-ARABIC, JEWISH TRIPOLITANIAN-LIBYAN ARABIC, TRIPOLITA'IT, YUDI.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARABIC, JUDEO-TUNISIAN

[AJT] 45,000 in Israel (1995 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries 45,500.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARABIC, JUDEO-YEMENI

[JYE] 50,000 in Israel (1995 Y. Kara). Population total both countries 51,000.  Alternate names: JUDEO-YEMENI, YEMENITE JUDEO-ARABIC.  Dialects: SAN<A, <ADEN, BE:DA, HABBAN.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARABIC, SOUTH LEVANTINE SPOKEN

[AJP] 910,000 in Israel.   Alternate names: LEVANTINE, PALESTANIAN-JORDANIAN ARABIC.  Dialects: MADANI, FELLAHI.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARABIC, STANDARD

[ABV]   Middle East, North Africa. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. 
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ARMENIAN

[ARM] 3,000 in Israel (1971 The Armenian Review).  Jerusalem. Alternate names: HAIEREN, SOMKHURI, ERMENICE, ARMJANSKI.  Dialects: WESTERN ARMENIAN.  Classification: Indo-European, Armenian. 
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BUKHARIC

[BHH] 50,000 in Israel (1995 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries 60,000.  Alternate names: BOKHARIC, BUKHARIAN, BOKHARAN, BUKHARAN, JUDEO-TAJIK.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian. 
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DOMARI

[RMT] 2,000 including Palestinian West Bank and Gaza (1997 Yaron Matras).  Mainly Jerusalem (Old City), Bir Zeit near Ramallah, and Gaza. Alternate names: DOM, NEAR-EASTERN GYPSY.  Dialects: NAWARI.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Dom. 
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DZHIDI

[DZH] 60,000 in Israel (1995). Population total both countries 60,000 or more.  Alternate names: JUDEO-PERSIAN.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian. 
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ENGLISH

[ENG] 100,000 in Israel (1993).   Alternate names: ANGLIT.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English. 
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HEBREW

[HBR] 4,847,000 in Israel (1998) or 81% of the population (1995). Population total all countries 5,150,000.  Alternate names: IVRIT.  Dialects: STANDARD HEBREW (GENERAL ISRAELI, EUROPEANIZED HEBREW), ORIENTAL HEBREW (ARABIZED HEBREW, YEMENITE HEBREW).  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Canaanite. 
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HULAULÁ

[HUY] 10,000 in Israel (1999 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries 10,000.  Alternate names: JUDEO-ARAMAIC, LISHANA NOSHAN, LISHANA AXNI, JABALI, KURDIT, GALIGLU, 'ARAMIT, <ARAMIT, HULA HULA.  Dialects: SAQIZ, KEREND, SANANDAJ, SULEIMANIYA.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. 
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HUNGARIAN

[HNG] 70,000 in Israel (1998 H. Mutzafi).   Classification: Uralic, Finno-Ugric, Ugric, Hungarian. 
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JUDEO-BERBER

[JBE] 2,000 speakers (1992 Podolsky).  Formerly High Atlas range, Tifnut and other communities. Speakers went to Israel from 1950 to 1960. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Berber, Northern, Atlas. 
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JUDEO-GEORGIAN

[JGE] 40,000 to 50,000 in Israel (1995 H. Mutzafi). Population total both countries 60,000 to 70,000.  Classification: South Caucasian, Georgian. 
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JUDEO-TAT

[TAT] 70,000 in Israel (1998). Population total all countries 101,000.  Alternate names: JUDEO-TATIC, JEWISH TAT, BIK, DZHUHURIC, JUWRI, JUHURI.  Dialects: DERBEND.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Tat. 
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KARAIM

[KDR] Ethnic group has 20,000 in Israel (1996 Philip E. Miller).   Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Ponto-Caspian. 
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LADINO

[SPJ] 100,000 or more in Israel (1985). Population total all countries 160,000 or fewer (1992).  Alternate names: JUDEO SPANISH, SEFARDI, DZHUDEZMO, JUDEZMO, SPANYOL, HAQUETIYA.  Dialects: JUDEZMO (JUDYO, JIDYO), LADINO, HAQUETIYA (HAKETIA, HAKETIYA, HAKITIA).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian. 
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LISHÁN DIDÁN

[TRG] 3,000 to 4,000 in Israel (1999 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries 3,050 to 4,300.  Alternate names: LISHANÁN, LISHANID NASH DIDÁN, PERSIAN AZERBAIJAN JEWISH ARAMAIC, LAKHLOKHI, GALIHALU.  Dialects: NORTHERN CLUSTER LISHÁN DIDÁN, SOUTHERN CLUSTER LISHÁN DIDÁN.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. 
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LISHANA DENI

[LSD] 7,000 to 8,000 (1999 H. Mutzafi).  Jerusalem and vicinity, including Maoz Tsiyon. Originally from northwest Iraqi Kurdistan. Alternate names: JUDEO-ARAMAIC, LISHAN HUDAYE, LISHAN HOZAYE, KURDIT.  Dialects: ZAKHO, AMADIYA, NERWA, DOHUK, ATRUSH, BÉTANURE, SANDU.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. 
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LISHANID NOSHAN

[AIJ] 2,000 to 2,500 (1994 H. Mutzafi).  Originally eastern and southern Iraqi Kurdistan. Alternate names: ARBILI NEO-ARAMAIC, LISHANA DIDÁN, HULANI, KURDIT, GALIGALU, JBELI, HULA'ULA.  Dialects: WESTERN CLUSTER LISHANID NOSHAN, EASTERN CLUSTER LISHANID NOSHANARBIL, DOBE, KOY SANJAQ, QALADZE, RWANDUZ, RUSTAQA.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. 
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POLISH

[PQL] 100,000 speakers out of 272,000 people of Polish origin (1992 H. Mutzafi).   Alternate names: POLSKI.  Classification: Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechtic. 
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ROMANIAN

[RUM] 250,000 in Israel (1993 Statistical Abstract of Israel).   Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Eastern. 
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RUSSIAN

[RUS] 750,000 in Israel (1999 H. Mutzafi).   Alternate names: RUSSIT, RUSSKI.  Classification: Indo-European, Slavic, East. 
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TIGRIGNA

[TGN] 10,000 in Israel (1994 H. Mutzafi).   Alternate names: TIGRINYA.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, North. 
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YEVANIC

[YEJ] 35 possibly in Israel. There were a few semi-speakers left in 1987, and may be none now. Population total both countries 50 or fewer.  Alternate names: JUDEO-GREEK, YEVANITIKA.  Classification: Indo-European, Greek, Attic.  Nearly extinct.
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YIDDISH, EASTERN

[YDD] 215,000 in Israel, 5% of the population (1986). Population total all countries 3,000,000 (J.A. Fishman 1991:194).  Alternate names: JUDEO-GERMAN, YIDDISH.  Dialects: SOUTHEASTERN YIDDISH, MIDEASTERN YIDDISH, NORTHEASTERN YIDDISH.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Yiddish. 
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Extinct languages

BABYLONIAN TALMUDIC ARAMAIC

[BYA]    Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. 
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BIJIL NEO-ARAMAIC

[BJF] About 10 semi-speakers (1998 Hezy Mutzafi).   Alternate names: LISHANID JANAN.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. 
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HEBREW, ANCIENT

[HBO]    Alternate names: OLD HEBREW.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Canaanite. 
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Deaf sign languages

ISRAELI SIGN LANGUAGE

[ISL] 5,000 users including some hearing persons (1986 Gallaudet Univ.)   Classification: Deaf sign language. 
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YIDDISH SIGN LANGUAGE

[YDS]    Classification: Deaf sign language. 
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This web edition of the Ethnologue contains all the content of the print edition and may be cited as:
Grimes, Barbara F. (ed.), 2000. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fourteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/14.

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