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Israeli street food – the magnificent and humble boureka

The square shape of the bourekas tells us that they are filled with a potato filling One does not have to spend a long time in Israel to get your first introduction to a boureka. These savory stuffed pastries are everywhere You'll find them for breakfast in hotel dining halls, in countless bakeries and coffee shops, on picnics and even at restaurants that only serve bourekas. They are often eaten in Israeli homes as part of a 'light' or diary meal in the evenings. (Most households in Israel usually serve the large cooked meal at lunchtime.) More often than not, bourekas are also an integral part of the wonderful Friday or Shabbat brunch table. To be really honest however, you basically eat a boureka whenever you encounter one. They are that irresistible. If you stop to grab a quick coffee at a coffee shop, the comforting smell of the bourekas will convince you to upgrade to a 'café ve'ma afe' (coffee + pastry). Wandering through street markets, the sight of fres

Are Israelis Rude?

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:
  • They elbow you out of loosely-formed "queues"
  • They steal parking spaces right in front of you
  • If When they get mad they yell and/or swear loudly
  • Their dogs do its 'business' in front of your house and nobody picks it up
  • They love to interrogate you about your salary, religion or why you aren't married. And if you are married they ask why you do not have children. Or more children. Or why only girls, etc. etc.

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

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! :)
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