This article is the result of cooperation between Israeli Jewish and Arab psycholinguists and speech–language disorders specialists. It presents two facets of the Israeli communications disorders scene: (1) a review of some linguistic, psycholinguistic, and sociolinguistic facets of Hebrew and Palestinian Arabic, two Semitic languages whose speakers live, work, and study together in Israel; and (2) against the linguistic background, a review of the state of the speech–language pathology services provided to Arab and Jewish residents of Israel. Some specific challenges to service providers in communication disorders in Israel are discussed in greater detail. These include the multilingual and multicultural nature of the Jewish society in Israel, the effects of diglossia in Arabic on the development of language and literacy, and the difficulties encountered by the Bedouin population of the Negev region in receiving speech–language pathology services. This review is followed by an overview of frameworks and policies of speech–language pathology services regarding these two languages, based on the findings of a comprehensive mapping study. The mapping study examined the needs of the Arab population as compared with the Jewish population in Israel in the field of communication disorders from the perspective of the service providers: the speech–language pathologists (SLPs) in both sectors. The topics covered were as follows: (1) academic studies and professional training; (2) adaptation of assessment and treatment tools both to the Arabic language and culture and to the Hebrew language and Israeli culture; and (3) means for information dissemination about communication disorders. The findings point to notable gaps between the two major sectors in Israeli society. Nonetheless, we hope that the goodwill and deep research commitment of Israeli and Arab scholars in the field of language development and disorders will contribute to the amelioration of this situation and that any development in the field will also be of value to SLPs serving Jewish and Arab clients and their families around the world.
Ono Academic College, Kiryat Ono (Dr Uziel-Karl), Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv (Mr Kanaan and Drs Abugov and Ravid), and University of Haifa, Haifa (Drs Yifat and Meir), Israel.
Corresponding Author: Dorit Ravid, PhD, School of Education and the Department of Communication Disorders, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The mapping study was funded by Grant No. 9/1/ from the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research awarded to Drs Sigal Uziel-Karl, Rachel Yifat, and Irit Meir.
The authors have indicated that they have no financial and no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.