On February 21, 2020, the WT Society made the announcement in their website of the release of the New World Translation in modern Hebrew (Hebrew Scriptures - "Tanakh") in Haifa, Israel. Now, the complete NWT is available in modern Hebrew.
Some time ago, a poster here said that releasing (in theory, i.e.) the Hebrew Bible in a modern version, such as the NWT, would be irrational. Obviously, any effort to translate the classical Hebrew (Old Testament) into English and then back to modern Hebrew via the NWT didn't make sense to him.
Nonetheless, the WT Publishers released their own version of the NWT Old Testament in modern Hebrew. Why would they do so, if many Israelis can actually read the Hebrew Bible on their own?
Yes, they can, but many find it difficult to deal with. The revival of Hebrew language in Israel (being a phenomenom in itself) led by Ben-Yehuda in the late 19th century and early 20th century was based on Biblical Hebrew morphenes. He used thousands of words from the Hebrew Text and from rabbinical commentaries. Many words were borrowed from Arabic, Yiddish, and other sources. The end result is sort of a hybrid language, although some deny this.
Thus, many modern Israelis cannot read the Tanakh with joy. This is where the Society comes in... they contributed their labor and resources by submitting their own translation to the local community. Here is the announcement they made:
FEBRUARY 21, 2020
Hebrew Scriptures Released at Special Event in Israel
“The Governing Body prepared a special gift for you.” So began Brother Geoffrey Jackson, a member of the Governing Body, as he released the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures in modern Hebrew. A total of 2,125 attended the special event held on January 11, 2020, at the Romema Arena located in Haifa, Israel.
Brother David Simozrag, who coordinates the efforts of the Public Information Desk in Israel, commented: “It is estimated that there are more than eight million in our region who speak Hebrew. We believe that providing the Tanakh in modern Hebrew is a valuable contribution to the local community.” This new release is among the very few modern translations available today to Hebrew readers.
The New World Translation is now available in whole or in part in 186 languages. Similar to the Masoretic scribes, our brothers who made up the Hebrew translation team worked diligently to transmit the Bible’s message accurately. The team dedicated more than three years to finish this modern translation. One of the translators observed: “Many Hebrew readers found it necessary to rely on commentaries or translations from other languages in order to understand particular verses and even entire books of the Bible. This Bible allows modern readers to easily grasp the meaning of the Scriptures.”
One brother noted: “After decades in which the average reader could not understand large parts of the Tanakh, he now can understand the message more clearly and accurately.” Undoubtedly, the 603 Hebrew-speaking publishers among the more than 2,000 publishers in the Israel branch territory will use this special gift “to consult the Law of Jehovah and practice it.”—Ezra 7:10. (End of quote)