Featured Post

Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

(this is a featured post and will stay at the top for the foreseeable future.. scroll down for new posts) -------------------------------...

Jul 13, 2009

Jerusalem or Yerushalayim

Transportation Minister Yaakov Katz has grandiose plans to Hebraize the road signs across Israel, creating a standard for the spellings of city names. (source: Ynet)

it can get confusing as you drive and notice that each sign directing you to a city might have the name of the city spelled differently. Sometimes it is no big deal, but other times it can cause you to be unsure of whether or not you are going in the right direction.

By Hebraizing the spellings, as long as he remains consistent in the spelling, it will solve all those problems. Even with Hebraizing the names, if he would just establish a standard it would also solve the problem. But Hebraizing at the same time is killing two birds with one stone. There is no reason the State of Israel needs to remain with the same crazy spellings from the days of the Turkish rule and British rule. It is about time Israel put its footprint on the roads.

True, it might cause some havoc for an interim period. All the GPS units, along with maps, will need to be updated, along with possible general confusion. But in the long run I think it is a great idea.


  1. i doubt that katz is trying to make things more consistent. he is trying to israelize the names. that is fine, imo. after all, al quds wasn't the name of the city a few hunded years ago. however in our post modern world, it won't fly.

  2. define "Hebraizing".
    Do you mean Qiryat Shemona will become Kiryat Shmona?

  3. yes but a better example would be changing a sign that says nablus to say shchem

  4. It tickles me pink that they've used Teimani transliterations all over! "Petah Tiqwa" should be "Petach Tivka" if you're trying to stick to a modern Ivrit pronunctiation.

    But I don't think they should mess with "Jerusalem". Every tourist knows the Anglicized spelling of the name, and politics aside, it's simply confusing to remove "Jerusalem" from the map in favor of perhaps a more politically satisfying "Yerushalayim" that very few people will recognize. How many Anglicized names are there in Israel, anyway? I can think of Safed, Tiberias, Hebron, Beersheba, Acre, Jericho... any others? Those can keep their English spelling; the rest should be transliterated into Ivrit, not 'Iwrith.

  5. B"H

    Let's see if the "Q" and "W" will continue to be properly employed, as they are in "Petah Tiqwah."

    I await the onslaught of teasing and juvenile remarks.


    Shaul, you may be right about the pronunciation. But, who says that pronunciation is accurate? And, why settle for less than what is accurate.

    We can debate how the letters should or should not be pronounced, but there is no getting around the fact that "qoof" and "kaf," for example, are two distinct letters.

    Why not differentiate between the two, regardless of how you choose to pronounce them?

    It is a great busha, when I, an English teacher, have to correct Hebrew spelling of students on a regular basis.

    This would not happen if the children were taught to differentiate between the letters.

  6. Ben Yehudah, you're a purist, and I respect that. But your argument is not about street signs; it's about changing the way Ivrit is spoken in Israel. It's no different than Oxford professors decrying the use of words like "wanna" and the misplaced emphasis of the "LO" syllable in "ki-LO-me-ter" (should be KI-lo-ME-ter, like KI-lo-GRAM, KI-lo-BYTE, KI-lo-JOULE etc.) That is the principle of common usage, like it or not, and that's how people speak. I pronounce Loshon Hakodesh like a good Litvak, but I accept that Ivrit, the language of Israel, is not the language of the Tanach, and to expect otherwise is like shouting into a hurricane. Accept that Israelis have never and won't ever distinguish between a Koof and a Kaf, live with it, and let them put up road signs accordingly.

  7. To "live with it," especially when we have some indication as to how the letters were pronounced, is nothing less than remaining in galuth and assimilated.

    To emphasize what I mean:

    Three things kept Israel in Egypt: the names, the lashon, and the clothing.

    How many of these do we have today?

    Two 3/4 {lashon, names}?

    The miqdash is not built, because no one is building it, not because we haven't learned enough hilkhoth lashon hara of the Hafetz Hayim.

    Likewise, we're in the state that we are with these other issues, because very few people are doing anything about them. To accept a "natural evolution" in these areas is nothing less than galuthi.

    Thank you for your post. Now, I will put even more emphasis on pronouncing Hebrew correctly in day to day life. And when I am finally invites to Ramas Beis Shemesh for Shabbos, I can bring my "Jewish" clothing with me to show you,...after they get finished being made. {There's been a delay due my tofereth's son's bar misswah.}

    Needless to say, they will not be comprised of a black hat and tie.

  8. The Arabic names in Israel are simply transliterations of the original Hebrew. Al Quds is an Arabic contraction of a Hebrew term referring to the Temple. 3500 years later, a lot of places mentioned in the Hebrew Bible continue to exist to this very day.


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...