Elite US military school drops Hebrew

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The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, the US Army’s elite language school in Monterey, Calif., Is removing Hebrew from its list of languages ​​due to low demand.

Natela Cutter, a spokesperson for the institute, said on Tuesday that the current course would be the last in Monterey, but the language would still be available through subcontractors in the Washington DC area, a system used for languages. that were removed from Monterey. school programs in recent years.

She said the last time the school cut languages, in 2016, five were cut: Turkish, Hindi, German, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian. Foreign policy in 2019 reported that the institute cut classes after the Trump administration diverted military funds to Trump’s planned wall between Mexico and the United States.

Steven Collins, the Defense Language Institute chief of staff, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that the demand for Hebrew in the military has fallen below the threshold needed to take a course.

“We close a language when we cannot maintain a team of teachers (6 instructors) – so we need at least 18 students permanently for a language to continue in Monterey,” he said. . “In the case of Hebrew, Services have determined that they will no longer send students to learn Hebrew. “

The institute, considered the most successful language learning enterprise in the English-speaking world and hosted at the Presidio de Monterey, a US military facility, currently lists 16 courses, four of which are in Arabic dialects.

The Hebrew course lasts 48 weeks. Cutter said the teachers – currently 12 – would likely get other jobs at the institute or elsewhere in the military.

Cutter didn’t know how many people are studying Hebrew now; Monterey County Weekly, analyzing the school’s tuition load based on Freedom of Information Act requests, said last year that between 30 and 40 people were taking Hebrew. The course has been offered since 1986.

The institute is teaching languages ​​to 2,500 military personnel at one time.

The Monterey County Weekly report said the likely genesis of learning Hebrew was the intensification of US-Israeli military cooperation under the Reagan administration.

The institute was created in 1963, bringing together language schools in the different services that had been launched with the approach of the Second World War. It moved to a single campus in Monterey in 1974.

Monterey, as the school is commonly known among its graduates, taught up to 40 languages ​​in the 1980s, when the Cold War was underway.


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