Whenever someone travels to another country, one is often concerned about what communicating in that country will be like. What is the language? Will anyone speak English? How will I get around?

In Israel, Hebrew is the nation’s official language. It was resurrected from being a dead language beginning in the 1800s, after not being spoken for nearly 2000 years. While it is the most widely spoken language,  it is far from the only spoken. Arabic has special status in the government and is seen routinely throughout the country. What may be more surprising though is there is a large population that speaks English. In fact, all schools in Israel, whether Israeli or Arabic, require English through high school. English is written on many signs, and while you are there you will find that most of the locals you encounter will speak English, especially if they regularly work with tourists.

Fun fact: 20% of Israeli’s speak Russian!

While as you see you will be fine navigating Israel in English, it is sometimes helpful to learn a few words and phrases in Hebrew. This will not only help you you communicate better, but it makes for a more enjoyable cultural experience!

Here are a list of words and phrases to know for your trip to Israel:

 

  • Shalom- “Peace”

  • Boker Tov- “Good Morning”

  • Erev Tov “Good Evening”

  • Laila Tov- “Good Night”

  • Toda- “Thank you”

  • Lo- “No”

  • Ken- “Yes”

  • Mayim- “Water”

  • Shmi- “My name is…”

  • Ma Ze- “What is this?”

  • ?Eifo ha’sherutim- “Where is the bathroom?”

  • ?Ma nishma- “How are you?”

  • Bevakasha- “Please”

 

Next time you are in Israel, try to speak like a local and experience Hebrew! You will likely find a friendly smile at your attempt to speak to those around you!

 

Want more information?  Check out these articles!

Making the most of your Holy Land trip

How to organize a  group trip to Israel