|Photo by Ken Bosma |
Israelis are often described as prickly pears - thorny
on the outside but sweet on the inside!
It is the first day in an ulpan (Hebrew class) in Israel and one of the new immigrants raises his hand and ask:
"Excuse me teacher, but can you please tell me how to say 'Please', 'Thank you' and 'I apologize' in Hebrew."
The Israeli teacher (clearly baffled) looks at him for a while and then asks, "Why?"
One does not hear the 'magic words' too often here in Israel. And yes, Israelis can also be quite rude. Let me count the ways:
New immigrants and tourists are often amazed at the 'chuzpah' (audacity) of Israelis and it is often a topic of complaint. But after a while they get 'de-Westernized' and start to see that Israelis are not really rude, just a tad, shall we call it..um...impolite?
They may not say "please" and "thank you" but they bring coffee and cookies to the municipality workers cleaning the gardens near their house. Strangers may interrogate you when you ride on a bus but they will get off the bus before their bus stop so that they can show you a shortcut to that building you were looking for.
Mothers with small children, old people or just someone with a large suitcase are often given a hand by strangers to get on and of buses and trains. And often you will see two people scream blue-murder at each other, suddenly settle their differences, slap each other on the back and then inquire after the wife and kids.
Before I learned Hebrew I was always intrigued about caused such a heated discussion. But if I asked someone, they would just shrug and say: "It is nothing" - making me even more curious. Now that I do understand Hebrew, I agree. They do argue about nothing, for example where to buy the best tomatoes or if the olive oil is any good.
So Israelis may seem like a rude, tough, LOUD bunch of people to newcomers but give them some time. They are also kind, friendly and really care. If you take their rudeness and then add their generosity and kindness you end up with people how are just a bit more impolite than what you are used to! :)
The wild mustard is growing yellow and everywhere in Israel at the moment. But not the kind of mustard that you eat with ketchup on your hotdog! Wild mustard as in wild mustard plants! :) I am talking about Sinapsis Arvensis , a tiny yellow flower that grows in masses in fields, along road sides and abandoned building sites. Up close the wild mustard flower does not look like much - a bit on the puny side actually. But just come across a field filled with mustard flowers and you will be enchanted - just as I am every spring.