Lecture on learning Hebrew and its impacts on Palestinians lives

Birzeit University’s master’s program in Israeli studies held a lecture to discuss the impact of learning Hebrew on the lives of Palestinians, featuring Tareq Samman, a lecturer of Hebrew at the program, on December 9, 2019.  

Samman remarked on the current situation in Palestine and the factors that prompt many Palestinians to learn Hebrew, a language that is spoken by few people, compared to other languages such as Arabic, English or Spanish.

Samman explained that this decision comes in the context of numerous social and economic factors that Palestinians must consider and deal with in their daily lives and activities, even though they have no power over them. “Many Palestinians find themselves in economic and social spaces,” he explained, “where Hebrew is required as a medium for communication. It is needed to conduct business, for instance.” Samman furthermore pointed out that many Palestinians learn Hebrew due to Israeli occupation-related measures and policies, such as arbitrary imprisonment and administrative detention.

Samman pointed out that learning Hebrew is a mandatory requirement for the program, as knowledge of the language conveys a better understanding of Israeli society and provides a valuable means for researching and studying the people, its politics, and the policies of the occupation.

Samman also touched upon the core process of acquiring Hebrew language skills and of learning its grammar and pronunciation in particular, asserting that it is not as difficult as many people believe. He shared his personal experience in learning Hebrew, which started in 2001, pointing out that repetition and consistent revision are the key techniques of learning any language quickly. “Learning a language has becomeing easier,” Samman added, “with modern-day technology and the vast access to sources of information.”

Samman’s lecture was a part of a public lecture series, held by the master’s program in Israeli studies, that tackles various topics related to researching and studying the various aspects of the Israeli occupation.