An new initiative was launched on the Jerusalem Light Rail this week to promote Arabic language learning among Israelis.The campaign included passing out pamphlets with Arabic phrases on the tram, sponsoring free Arabic-language courses, and displaying posters featuring Arabic words along with their Hebrew explanations at different stations in the city.
The inspiration of the campaign centers on the fact that Arabic comprehension among Israeli Jews is low, as ALLMEP member Sikkuy found through a survey published in early July that only 8.6% of Israeli Jewish adults have a working understanding of Arabic.
As the tram, which begin operating in 2011, runs through the heart of the city and carries over 160,000 passengers a day, the campaign’s sponsors and the leadership of the Jerusalem Light Rail believed it to be a perfect center for promoting understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.
The rationale behind the campaign was to bridge the language barrier between the Palestinians and the Israeli populations in the city. Beyond this campaign itself, Jerusalem Light Rail prides itself on being the sole public transportation system in Israel that broadcasts notices in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Photo Credit: The Times of Israel
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