From German Philology to Local Usability: The Emergence of ‘Practical’ Arabic in the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa' 1913–48

Yonatan Mendel, Ronald Ranta

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Abstract

This article examines the pedagogical shifts in the study of Arabic at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, the leading school for Arabic studies in the Jewish education system. Analyzing the moulding of Arabic studies in the crucial years of educational institutionalization (1913–48), it demonstrates an inevitable tension with regard to Arabic studies: between the German philological approach and the ‘practical’ approach. In light of this tension, it shows the gradual emergence of a new ‘practical’ approach in the Jewish education system in Palestine, which was not only the result of a clash between different pedagogical methods, but was propelled by another, powerful, clash: that of the heated political conflict in Palestine. Using primary sources from seven different archives, in Israel, Britain and Germany, this article reveals that the shift towards practicality was motivated by political developments and ideological shifts as much as by pedagogical considerations, and therefore has had significant ramifications for the emerging field of Arabic studies in Jewish schools in Palestine/Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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