Hebrew almost died out as a language but was revived in the 19th century by scholar Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. It is a Semitic language closely related to Arabic and is the official language of Israel alongside Arabic.
Hebrew is spoken as a native language by approximately 5 million people, mainly in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It is also used worldwide as a liturgical language for Judaism.
Like languages in the Arabic script, Hebrew is written from right to left using the 22 characters of Hebrew alphabet, which originally only represented consonants - but symbols were later added to account for these. The forms are simpler than the Arabic script with variations in shape only in final letters.
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