Tools of the trade: globally changing code

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I need to make certain changes to multiple pages within the site under
development, what's the easiest way to do that?
If both the code to be replaced in a page and it's replacement contain
only ASCII-code, I can use tools such as sed, grep, gawk, etc. and the
problem is solved. (or alternatively, code to be inserted or deleted)
My problem lies with dealing with bidirectional unicode texts, part of
the code is in English (usually the HTML tags), and part of the code is
in Hebrew (the text). How do I automate the replacement? I've tried to
make scripts in both python and perl, or more modifying scripts I found
to my situation, since I have virtually no knowledge of either
language, but with no results.

Since I'm sure this is not the first time such a problem was
encountered while authoring, do you have any tips on authoring tools to
use? Authoring tools or existing scripts that can do such scripting and
deal with bidirectional unicode (UTF-8) code?

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