Slicha, Efshar Mayim
This chamud little video about the stereotypes of English speaking olim brings up a point about Israeli society that I really just don’t get.
“Slicha, Efshar Mayim?” says the dude to his girlfriend. “Uch, why won’t they give me water!”
In America, when you go out to eat, you get water. You don’t need to ask, beg or scream. You sit down, and boom, you’re served a nice glass of ice, cold water.
In Israel, when you go out to eat, you have to negotiate like you’re at the Shuk just for a small, warm glass of water.
Why don’t sabras demand water at meals? Do they care so much about the Kinneret that they choose to go thirsty every meal? Or has everyone – unlike me — settled with the fact that customer service just sucks here and therefore, why even ask for water?
Ummm hello, we live in the desert. Aren’t all you gevers thirsty, or do you really just love your Cola and Nestea that much?
So I made Aliyah, I served in the IDF as a Lone Soldier (Jobnik at Tel Hashomer!), I speak Hebrew fluently, and I get most things about Israeli society. For instance, I love the no waiting in line and pushing to the front thing. I also love the blurting out whatever is on my mind thing. And I love calling complete strangers motek and kapara (with my thick American accent of course).
And while I don’t get the water thing, I do get why Israelis consistently poll as some of the happiest people in the world.
What makes Israelis (I get to include myself right?) so happy is that we’re so genuine. When we’re pissed off, we tell people how we feel. No holding grudges, no games. This genuine attitude to life also explains why we’re so warm. I’m overwhelmed by how many invitations I get for Shabbat and holiday meals. There’s a connection to strangers here that makes everyone feel like family. That’s why Israelis are so warm, and at the same time, so rude. If everyone is family, then you can be nice and a shmuck at the same time. It’s awesome.
Native born Israelis may not think about it, but you’re so warm and rude in the same sentence because your connection to the land and to the people here, in Israel, is greater than any other place on earth. You feel at home on the bus, at school, at work, and even at the bank. Your country is your home, and you’ve never had any doubts. This homey feeling is something most Jews don’t feel anywhere else in the world. And if they do feel at home in the Diaspora, it’s because they don’t know what a real home feels like.
I love living here, and I’m not going anywhere. Israel is my home. So is a little mayim too much to ask for?
// בנג'י דייויס
// benji Davis
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Slicha, Efshar Mayim