Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Israel through Canadian eyes

What's it like to live and work in Israel? Canada's Centre for Intercultural Learning offers advice for Canadians on making a first impression, interacting in the workplace, and getting to know Israel's culture.

Some highlights:

  • is easy to associate a person with a specific political ideology by their dress. A right wing person would be a religiously observant looking--with a head covering for men and women and modest or dark coloured clothes. The left wing person would be more likely to wear "beach" attire (from a Canadian perspective); for men, for example, half-open button down shirts without an undershirt underneath.

  • Gestures are more important than touching. You may meet Israelis who jump all over the place while trying to express a commonplace idea.

  • Israelis speak loudly and quickly. They give the impression that they are in a rush or frustrated. Israelis often yell as though they were all worked up when in fact they are speaking in quite a normal tone of voice.

  • The whole society is under a lot of stress and pressure. In a country where life can be ended in an instant by an attack, emotions run high. People get into fights at vegetable stands, with taxi drivers and in business meetings. Because anger is a staple of the Israeli diet, it need not be taken as seriously as it would be in Canada.

  • Though things should run on army time--punctually, in reality, everyone seems to be running a little late. So, if you are the person with the upper hand--that is, you are the boss, the investor, the employer, you can come late. If you are looking for a job, a seed investment etc. you should be on time. The definition of late can vary from about 5 minutes to 40 minutes. Past the half-hour mark, the tables turn and the person who is late is considered rude.

  • With respect to a religious woman, in an Orthodox Jewish family (as in other religions), the status of women is such that they do not work very much or at all; they are required to raise the children while husbands spend most of their time studying the Torah in Talmudic schools. In an orthodox family, it is considered to be a divine act ("Mitsva") for a woman to have a lot of children, and they are her responsibility, the father's role being to teach them about Jewish traditions and values.

  • The Jewish religion, and religion in general, is very much respected. Respect of others is a dominant feature.

  • Israelis (like people from many other countries) think that there are bears and Indians in traditional dress walking around Montreal and that even in summer the temperature is -30 degrees!!

In case you can't tell, about half of this is insightful and accurate and the other half is hilariously absurd.


Cosmic X said...

"The Jewish religion, and religion in general, is very much respected."

LOL! Were these people really in Israel?

P.S. Love your blog! I just started blogging. Check
out my blog. You might like it.

Zman Biur said...

Nice blog. Weird name. Welcome to the fray!