The Israeli government has decided to honor the Hebrew language by issuing a stamp in February 2011 that highlights Hebrew’s uniqueness: its continued existence even after it ceased to be spoken, the treasures that were added to its vocabulary throughout the ages, and its modern revival as the everyday language of Israel.
Hebrew is an ancient language that was spoken over the course of many centuries in the Land of Israel and subsequently preserved by Jews throughout the Diaspora as a medium of cultural and religious expression. With the rise of Zionism and the State of Israel, the Hebrew language was revived as a spoken tongue and enriched with many new terms and constructions to reflect the reality of modern life. Modern Hebrew draws on all of the previous layers of the language’s history. Ancient words are ascribed new meanings and new words are created following patterns and paradigms native to the ancient tongue. It has also absorbed some modern terms from other languages, as happens with all languages.