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I LOVE This Country

May 11, 2008

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Warning: This post could make you vomit due to it’s elevated level of cheesiness.

I am completely in love with Israel and my friends right now. I’m sure it will pass within a few days when some idiot flicks me off on the freeway or calls me a puta (yes, that actually happens here too), but for the next few days, I will remain in an elevated state of elation, due to the amazing long weekend I just had.

Wednesday was Israel’s Memorial Day, and it was immediately followed by Israel’s 60th Independence Day. On Wednesday night, the entire country was out celebrating at numerous events around the country. I stayed in my town because an amazing band, Kaveret, was reuniting for the evening, and a couple of my friends came over (video of them singing Yoya is here). After the show we played TAKI until 330 am (basically the Israeli version of Uno) which you can play online here.

It doesn’t matter what incredible things I did over those 4 days, including almost fainting after donating blood (though I’d like to mention I attended the premiere of Fiddler on the Roof at the Cameri and it was incredible – y’all should go if you’re in Israel!).

Because of this corny state in which I am at the moment, I’d like to share with you why I love Israel so much.

I love that your friends have no problem picking up other friends of yours who they’ve never met, and by the time they reach your apartment, they are having deeper and more personal conversations than you’ve had with half your friends. They’ve probably added each other on Facebook before they even got out of the car.

I love that you can’t possibly go through a holiday without being invited to a million people’s houses for dinner/lunch/parties. Having one dinner/lunch/party is not an excuse to miss another one. You can’t eat too much food.

I love how I studied Spanish for years in Texas, but I only became fluent after moving to Israel and getting addicted to Argentinean telenovelas (soap operas).

I love how Israeli children are fluent in basic Spanish because of kiddie novelas from Argentina and Mexico like Chiquititas, Rebelde Way, Amy La Nina de la Mochila Azul, and Patito Feo.

I love that you don’t worry about not having Friday night plans on Friday afternoon – no one else has made them yet either. Just wait till 9 – you’ll be turning people down.

I love than if you try to plan ahead people yell at you “I don’t know what I’m doing the day after tomorrow – it’s too far away!”

I love that anywhere you go there is history. Even if you don’t know it.

I love that you can visit almost any place written in the Bible. Learn it and go there (props to Jerusalem class from Young Judaea Year Course 1996-1997!)

I love that you can walk through the Old City (during the quieter times) and see people and sites from all religions and forget there is a conflict going on.

I love the fact that sometimes Shuk Hacarmel feels like it’s been invaded by the US (and ditto for Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem).

I love that you can’t possibly meet an Israeli and not have mutual acquaintances. If you don’t figure it out when you meet, add each other on Facebook – you’ll be surprised. Read this hilarious post by my friend Benji about this.

I love how, regardless of how religious or secular you are, traffic literally stops on the freeway on Holocaust Memorial Day and Israeli Memorial Day to remember those who have fallen and perished.

I love seeing garbage men with Tzitziot hanging out.

I love how, when people come from overseas, you suddenly realize how much you know about the history of each little rock in the country.

I love how everyone recognizes the names of almost every terror victim and kidnapped soldier (older ones too).

I love how Israelis are so close to their families, and will do anything for their mom’s cooking.

I love how the way to a man’s heart is through his mother – not your cooking.

I love how I don’t feel the need to look over my shoulder when I’m walking down a dark street alone.

I love how my biggest fear is my car being towed in Tel Aviv.

I love how random acts of crime are barely existent.

I love how you can sit at a wedding at table with 12 people and everyone be from different countries.

I love that I don’t feel the need to be religious in order to feel Jewish.

I love the “Careful – Camels Crossing” signs on the way to the Dead Sea and Eilat.

I love how when people over the world say “Mi casa es su casa” (my home is you home), in Israel they mean it – and feel it, too.

I love how I can call a friend an hour away and tell her I’m coming to visit – when I’m already on the way.

I love how Israel is the size of New Jersey, and is #2 in hi tech in the world (and I’m part of it!) Per capita, Israel has the largest number of start-ups in the world.

I love how Israel has the highest per-capita number of scientific papers than any other country in the world – and by a large margin: 109 per 10,000 people.

I love how, outside of the US and Canada, Israel has the largest number of companies listed on NASDAQ.

I love how Israel, at 24% of the workforce, is only behind the USA and Holland in people who hold university degrees.

I love that Israel goes on humanitarian missions and offers aid to any country that has had a natural disaster (or unnatural…) – even if they refuse the help. Israel’s search and rescue teams are among the best in the world (and my dad was among them!)

I love that Israelis can think of stupid groups on Facebook like “The organization for the mercy killing of those who translate movie titles into Hebrew,” “The movement against those who eat tangerines on buses,” “Call the new 2 sheqel coin Shnekel” (which totally worked) and “I want an entire episode of Survivor Israel of Noam in his underwear.”

I love that Israelis also have important groups on Facebook, immortalizing celebs and non-celebs who have passed (Tair Rada and Poli Poliakov), helping each other find jobs, preserving correct grammar, and Demanding Holocaust victims live in dignity.”

I love that Israelis also have cultural groups on Facebook, such as the Kipi Ben Kipod group, the group for those who are here and want to be there (Sesame Street), the Benny Goren ruined my childhood group (he writes the math books), and chocolate milk in a bag (don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it!)

I love how, while having the qualifications for a job is an absolute necessity, knowing someone on the inside always helps – and is almost just as important. Israel has a Haver Mevi Haver mentality – a friend brings a friend.

I love that my 2.5 year old nephew says everything in Hebrew AND English just to make sure his point gets across (I want an egg. Beitza. I want cake. Uga.)

I love that people are going to make of me for writing this post, but they know they feel the same way.

I love that I didn’t want to move to Israel and did so because of family pressure – and I can’t imagine my life not being here.

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19 comments

  1. Totally agree…nice post.


  2. Great post! Sometimes I wonder if I’m not a little too cheery and googly-eyed when it comes to Israel, so it’s good to know that others feel the same way.


  3. Miriam – I’m not also googly-eyed at all, I was just extremely happy after a few great days (like 5 people asked me if I’m in love!) I know we have a lot of problems here, but when I wrote this particular post, I wasn’t thinking about that.


  4. I feel that way too! there are so many things about Israel which are endearing. And it’s not just Olim who feel this way!!. (see korin alal’s song, Eretz Ktana Im Safam)


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  6. my daughter watches “casi angeles” and is starting to use Spanish. but i think i can get arrested for letting her watch it.

    Excellent post, I feel the same way.


  7. Meh, Casi Angeles is harmless – it’s a Cris Morena show (she did Chiquititas and Rincon de Luz). But Chiquititas is how I know the kids learn Spabish from the show. 🙂


  8. Good job, I enjoyed this.


  9. Hey mate, I enjoyed reading this post. You post has made me more excited about enjoying my stay while I am in Israel. Would love to catch up with you if you are in Tel Aviv.


  10. Tejas – I work in TA. DM me on Twitter. 🙂


  11. I’m going to join the Sheneckel group.
    I like the idea of giving someone “that’s my shmeckl’s worth” although “just my sheckels” seems sort of lacking.


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  13. My comment is on the line below …
    No wonder the Arabs don’t have the potential to advance in Israel as much of the Jewish folks considering the contents of the line below … Getting a job should only be on qualifications. Not knowing someone on the inside. It is not fair and nepotisim is just a step away from corruption.

    I love how, while having the qualifications for a job is an absolute necessity, knowing someone on the inside always helps – and is almost just as important. Israel has a Haver Mevi Haver mentality – a friend brings a friend.


  14. You are hilarious and an awesome writer. I laughed out loud a lot. Especially at the facebook groups. Keep it up. Can I subscribe somehow here?


  15. right, i see how i can subscribe. I hate people who ask questions before they look…


  16. Rosa,

    I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually approve this post. While I generally approve almost every comment made on my blog (save the “you should die” type comments), this particular post was made with love on my part and I honestly had no intention to get into any type of political debate.

    Since you brought it up, however, I do want to respond.

    Getting jobs IS based on qualifications. If you aren’t qualified, you aren’t going to get it. That said, knowing someone on the inside – in ANY country – always helps. With all due respect, I was offered a job at MySpace a few months back because I sent my resume to a friend in LA (who’s Chinese, for the record) who sent my resume to his friend (African American) at Fox. This happens everywhere. My resume being passed on through people on the inside highlighted mine more than others, but at the end of the day I qualified for the job, period.

    Same goes here in Israel. Also, people here won’t just pass on someone’s resume if the person isn’t a match. FYI.

    Finally, it’s not true at all that Arabs don’t advance in Israel. I’d like to make sure that we understand there are two different types of Arabs here: The Israeli Arabs who have full citizenship in Israel and the Palestinian Arabs who are not Israeli citizens (by choice) and therefore should not count in the “advancing in Israel” category (a guy in France not holding a CEO position in Germany doesn’t count either).

    I’m sorry that all I can really give you, other than several Arab MKs in the Israeli government (who, unlike in Iran, are not obligated to vote in favor of the Jews or against their own people), I can give you two “pop culture” type examples. The first winner of Big Brother Israel (by a different name) was an Israeli Arab. So was the winner of either the first or the second “Israel’s Top Model” show (don’t remember which since I don’t watch it). Israel has also sent Arab Israelis to the Miss Universe competitions. The reason I am giving you these “frivolous” examples is because I don’t have any set examples where I can say “the CEO of this company is an Arab” – just like I have very few examples of companies I know personally where I can say “the CEO of this company is a woman.”


  17. BTW, thanks, Yael. No day but today. 🙂


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