UAE - Hebrew Language in High Demand

Arno Froese

Curiosity, that’s why May al-Badi wanted to learn Hebrew. “Wanting to know more about something we don’t have here,” says the young Emirati woman who lives in Dubai. Until recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had no formal ties with Israel. “I’ve been fascinated by the language since I made Jewish friends in the United States.”

But the main reason she is finally starting an online course is her Jewish friends she’d met in Dubai; expats who invited her to eat with them in their homes for the Shabbat, the start of the Jewish weekend on Friday night.

Since the UAE signed the Abraham Accords [Normalization agreements—ed.] with Israel [in] September [2020], thousands of Israeli businesspeople and tourists have flocked to Dubai. Hotels have adapted to their specific needs, offering kosher food but also pre-Shabbat meals for as many as 200 people at a time.

[There is] also … a growing demand for online courses from Gulf States that have not yet signed a peace agreement with Israel—like Saudi Arabia. For the past 80 years, since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, everything relating to Israel and Judaism has been taboo in most of the Arab world.

For most Arabic speakers, Hebrew is not too hard to learn, as both are Semitic languages and many words and grammar rules are similar. Some Emiratis are already fluent in Hebrew, says Stephany Miller, a private teacher in Abu Dhabi who has been teaching Hebrew for years both there and in the US., 11 March 2021

Arno's Commentary

We are reminded of the words of the prophet Zechariah: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23). Arabs are close relatives of the Hebrews, and both languages sound somewhat similar. But the prophecy “of all languages of the nations” is yet to be fulfilled.

At the birth of the Church, the language issue was solved supernaturally. When a multitude of Jews heard the Galileans speak, those from 16 different regions were among them. They obviously spoke Hebrew, the language of the Bible, but they also spoke their adopted tongues. These were Jewish expats, and hearing the Gospel being preached, they asked in surprise, “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:8).

This supernatural event taught the Jews to incorporate any and all languages spoken in the world. No longer was it necessary to learn Hebrew in order to communicate with the Creator. Any language at any time can be utilized to approach the living God through Jesus Christ the Son.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety