Veteran member of the Jerusalem kehilla and pioneer of the kehillot in Israel, Brother Yohanan Elihai informed us that a new volume of his was released on September 11, 2017 – a comprehensive Arabic-Hebrew dictionary.

yohanan dictionary

Brother Yohanan has been in Israel since the mid-1950s, accompanying the development of the kehillot and contributing greatly to the translation of liturgical and other texts and to the Catholic musical heritage in Hebrew. One of his numerous life projects has been to encourage the learning of Arabic, especially in its Palestinian (Eastern Arabic) conversational form.

After four years of intense work, the latest volume, an Arabic-Hebrew dictionary has just been published, containing ten thousand words and fifteen thousand four hundred phrases.

A life project that began in the mid-1940s when he arrived in the Middle East, Brother Yohanan, whose work has been recognized with an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa in 2008, has already composed four major dictionaries of colloquial Arabic, a field he has pioneered:
- in 1974, a French-Arabic dictionary, using an old type writer,
- in 1977-78, a Hebrew-Arabic dictionary, composed with the support of the late Prof. Haim Blanc,
- in 1999, a Hebrew-Arabic dictionary, which included only 5000 words,
- in 2005, an Arabic-English dictionary, containing 780 pages.

Brother Yohanan has also published a small pocket edition of an Hebrew-Arabic dictionary that contains about one thousand words and expressions from daily life with an accompanying CD.

It was important to reprint the Arabic-Hebrew dictionary, which had sold out and so Brother Yohanan began the four-year process, basing himself on the Arabic English dictionary, that has now been published, a much-enlarged version of the 1999 version.

This project has been based on hundreds of hours of conversation, studiously recorded, in Galilee, Jerusalem and Ramallah.