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Israelis’ Hebrew Criticized

A significant number of Knesset members representing a broad spectrum of political factions reached agreement yesterday that many Israelis cannot speak proper Hebrew. Shalom Levin, of the Labor Alignment, who happens to be chairman of the National Teachers Association, introduced an agenda motion on “The State of the Hebrew Language” in Israel, which he found to be poor. He suggested that Knesset members should be provided with special language advisors to check their speeches–before and after delivery–for correct usage.

Levin claimed that very few Israelis could say they have mastered the Hebrew language. Specifically, he charged, “most radio and TV broadcasters, public figures, Knesset members and even university professors harm the language, sometimes because of disrespect for it and sometimes merely because they don’t know better.”

Most of Levin’s colleagues concurred. But Likud MK Yitzhak Modai thought the Knesset should devote itself to more pressing matters. Modal has been trying to introduce an agenda motion critical of the new value added tax (VAT) that goes into effect July 1. He charged that whenever the Knesset presidium wanted to avoid an embarrassing subject, it took up such topics as the state of the Hebrew language. (By Gil Sedan)

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