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I am trying to get an article formatted for someone who needs to use English and German but with two words each of Hebrew and Arabic. It appears that babel/hebrew requires inputenc, which makes it unusable in XeLaTeX, my preferred engine.

What is the current advice for documents in western European alphabets with only a tiny amount (a few words) in right-to-left alphabets? It can be arranged that the RTL text is never in a position needing hyphenation.

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Use polyglossia. Here is an example of how you can do it. Change the fonts as you see fit.

Simply encase the Hebrew or Arabic text in \begin{hebrew} ... \end{hebrew} or \begin{Arabic} ... \end{Arabic}, respectively.

%XeLaTeX
\documentclass{book}

\usepackage{polyglossia}
    \setdefaultlanguage{english}
        \newfontfamily\englishfont[Ligatures=NoCommon]{Linux Libertine O}
    \setotherlanguage{hebrew}
        \newfontfamily\hebrewfont[Script=Hebrew]{Arial}
    \setotherlanguage{arabic}
        \newfontfamily\arabicfont[Script=Arabic]{Times New Roman}


\begin{document}

Thank You

\begin{hebrew} תודה \end{hebrew}

\begin{Arabic} شكرا \end{Arabic}

\end{document}

enter image description here

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