Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav wants to put a stop to all the English language signs he sees popping up around Haifa. Although Haifa has always been a city of immigrants, Yahav wants to make sure the Hebrew language is not lost in the mix of the many other languages being spoken in the city each day.
The language problem was more pronounced earlier in the city’s history. Immigrants for Russia, Europe and the Arab world who settled into Haifa had no common language. The government aggressively pursued Hebrew education and immersion in the early days of the Israeli state.
More English words creep into Hebrew each day through the adoption of English-based technological terms. Some people have expressed a concern for the future of Hebrew music, language and culture.
Yahav wants to push for a city ordinance that would force business owners to put up signs in Hebrew, as well as any other languages they so choose. He is also pushing his own staff to avoid Anglicized words like “globalization.” Although this law seems small, it speaks to a larger question about the future of the Hebrew language and the pressure put on Israeli culture in an increasingly globalized world.