Sectarian divisions between the two peoples who inhabit a certain strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River have given rise to the most famous conflict in the world today. Participants and observers alike characterise the two sides in religious or national terms. But in a land where most people on both sides are of Middle Eastern origin, for practical purposes the most obvious shibboleth is often language.

The official language of Israel is Hebrew. Over 90% of Israeli Jews and 60% of Israeli Arabs (who make up a fifth of Israel’s citizens) speak it fluently. Many…

Sam Quillen

Former linguistics student; current investment bank analyst who sometimes thinks about something other than spreadsheets

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