My wife wrote a blog post which falls firmly into the category “Hey, I was also going to write a post about that!” which she titled “You say rude, I say cut the bullshit” which touches on something I’ve been thinking about the last week or two.
I have had a line in my Twitter bio for a while which reads:
Allergic to stupid
I have a pretty low tolerance for stupidity and nonsense all around. I realized that we picked a country to move to that similarly has a pretty low tolerance for it. Israelis like to get to the point. As Gina said:
I think the problem is, that what people perceive as rude, is actually a dislike of bullshit. Israelis are direct and to the point. Ask a question and you get an answer not a whole story to go with it.
Hebrew doesn’t seem to have an equivalent for “politically correct” and I like that [Update: I was corrected, there is a phrase for “politically correct” and politicians use it]. I like that Israelis are direct and I have to remind myself to reign in my tendency to give a whole story when I talk about stuff.
My Hebrew is pretty basic but what little I know points to a language that is pretty efficient with words. This whole “to the point” thing seems to be deeply rooted in Israeli culture and rather than struggling with what I initially saw as rudeness (and, yes, there are rude Israelis too), I am relieved that people are so direct.
People here work pretty hard and long hours. There just isn’t time to mess around with fluff and nonsense when you are working and have a lot to get through in a long day. On the other hand, the people we interact with also tend to be really helpful and friendly and make time for us. If anything, this has surprised me most:
Something that has totally blown me away though is the utter acceptance by the parents of the kids Faith and Aaron go to school with. I lost count of how many phone calls and text messages I received in the first few weeks the kids were at school. Not only inviting the kids to play dates but just to say hello and offering any help they could give. The parents are always happy to have the kids come over to them and to help us translate messages from the schools.