Thursday, February 16, 2012
An article here in German is worth reading, but unfortunately low on detail besides a (unreferenced) number of people interested in German in Tel Aviv. I'll provide more of an explanation than a translation of part of it:
The article begins with a bit about how it's rare to find a group of Germans going to another country and speaking German and Israel in particular, but some people from the German Language Society did just that...a bit about how there are rougly three generational views in Israel of the German language: one generation which sees it as the "language of the murderers", and German speakers in this generation only use it at home. The next generation of German speakers in the country was ashamed of the language and did not pass it on, while the generation that came after that generally sees it as a cool language to know. Bands like Tokio Hotel and the World Cup 2006 are cited to be a part of the reason for this.
The real intent of the group visiting Israel was to explore the current position of the German language in Israel. They see a positive development there: 20 years ago there was not a single German language discussion group, no schools offered degrees in German. Nevertheless today there is still a "difficult situation" with the language, with examples such as the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Tel Aviv calling it "German-Jewish studies", official financing of German lessons is rather scarce, and German literature is usually studied through English.
The Goethe-Institut in Tel Aviv says the conditions are not too bad, with an estimated 1,700 people in Tel Aviv (total population 400,000) interested in the language. Not sure where this number came from, perhaps from a random sampling.
The Goethe-Institut in Tel Aviv has a lot of interesting material too, usually in German and Hebrew and also sometimes in English.