A new bilingual education in the conflict-ridden Israeli reality: Language practices

Muhammed Amara, Faisal Azaiza, Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz, Aura Mor-Sommerfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under the Israeli language education policy, the mother tongue is learned first for several years, followed by a second language (English for Jews, Hebrew for Arabs) and then a third language (English for Arabs, Arabic/French for Jews). This type of limited bilingualism seems to suit the Israeli reality in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict, the definition and perception of Israel as a Jewish-Zionist state and the complex Jewish-Arab relations within Israel. In 1997, the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel initiated a new model of Hebrew-Arabic bilingual education in Israel, assuming that direct contact between Arab and Jewish pupils would bring about far-reaching changes in the conflict-ridden Israeli society. Currently, three schools have adopted the new model. Several studies of the new model have provided rich information, mainly about educational, cultural and national issues. However, no systematic study has focused on the implementation of bilingual education in the schools; less emphasis has been placed on actual language practices in the classroom and the school environment in relation to ideology and policy. This article attempts to investigate and document the interaction between Hebrew and Arabic in a location which conceptually places both languages on equal footing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-35
Number of pages21
JournalLanguage and Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the support of Zeit Stiftung, which enabled us to carry out this research as part of the Program for Bilingual Education. We thank Professor Rassem Khamaisi for producing the map which appears as Figure 1.


  • Arabic
  • Bilingual education
  • Hebrew
  • Language policy
  • Language practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'A new bilingual education in the conflict-ridden Israeli reality: Language practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this