The Israeli Defense Forces Personnel Directorate has recently come to the unfortunate conclusion that the majority of Israeli soldiers speak poor-quality Hebrew and that the use of proper language is deteriorating – fast.
The level of spoken, read and understood Hebrew is tested as prospective recruits first arrive at the recruiting center. It is measured on a special denotation scale of 2 to 9.
Israeli-born recruits usually score between 7 and 9 on the test, while immigrants' scores range from 2 to 6. However, according to Personnel Directorate data, the past decade has seen a dramatic decline in test scores among Israeli born recruits, and nowadays, the majority score a 7.
According to a Thursday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate Major-General Avi Zamir decided to fight the phenomenon by launching a language-improvement program.
Zamir has asked top linguist Dr. Avshalom Kor to head a special team on the matter. Kor will be tasked with training officers in the ways of correct Hebrew grammar – so they, in turn, may teach their subordinates, he will review all of the General Staff Orders to ensure correct Hebrew is used and will re-edit the IDF's dictionary.
Zamir and Kor will also take all senior IDF officers to visit the Academy of the Hebrew Language.
"There is a direct correlation between respecting the Hebrew language in day-to-day life and the kind of values we wish to instill in our soldiers," said Zamir.
In any case, the common military slang in expected to remain intact: "Slang is part of a language's grace – it is not the enemy," said Kor. "What we'll strive to maintain in the officers' accuracy, the extent of their vocabulary and their eloquence."