Skip to main content

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 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! :)
If you'd like to receive my occasional "Letter from Israel" in your email box, how about signing up at the "Subscribe" link at the top of the page. I am a fierce hater of spam myself and I promise that I only send out these emails VERY occasionally - though I really should be a bit less lazy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When the almond trees flower

We are right at the entrance of spring now in Israel. Luckily we had a lot of rain this winter and everywhere is clean and green.
We are already enjoying the spring flowers but one cannot talk (okay write..☺) about spring flowers without mentioning almond blossoms.


The wild mustard flowers of Israel

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.

The Jerusalem Pine of Israel - a hate/love story

I have always taken offense at the Jerusalem pine trees that one sees dotted all over the landscape here in Israel.
They are just too scraggy, skinny and needle-ly and let's be honest: UGLY. I mean just look at it...