Thursday, April 08, 2010

Is It Possible to Get Around In Jerusalem with NO Hebrew? Or Arabic?

If you know, please let me know.


History Will Absolve Mike said...

Yes, everyone (literally) speaks English, Palestinian and Israeli. I went right before the intifada and the tension was palpable. I can't imagine going now. I wouldn't. I wasn't comfortable at all with the situation and I can't imagine that it won't horrify you.

JHE said...

It is not only possible, it is basically expected. If you can say "please" and "thank you" in each language, you will basically be fine.

I have spent extensive time there, including a stretch of two years, and I think you can feel very comfortable traveling in and around Jerusalem. You will certainly feel tensions, but nothing that should deter you. There is nothing especially risky about it.

You should have no reservations about traveling anywhere within Israel proper. If you want to check out the West Bank, I would recommend connecting with a local guide you can trust, or contacting an organization like Encounter or Ir Amim. I would not recommend traveling to Gaza.

ZS said...

Thanks you guys. I am certain that I will be uncomfortable at best, but that's ok with me. I'm just starting to plan my project and I need to know how much time I need to devote to learning Hebrew and Arabic and now I think I can put that on the back burner.

Ian Aleksander Adams said...

yeah, english is fine. I totally dropped out of hebrew school as a kid and didn't know a speck. no problems. less embarrassment than germany, and they all know english there. Jeru is kinda a tourist town.

er, or should I say a pilgrimage town.

clr said...

You'll be fine. Even if you spoke hebrew, if they heard your American accent, they'd probably try to speak English to you just to prove that they could.

With Arabic, if you were going to Egypt I'd encourage you to learn the Arabic numerals. And learning hello, please, thank you, will go a VERY VERY long way.

If you want some basic Hebrew (since I am fluent after living there for 6 years) let me know. But I don't think you'll need it.