Israelis prioritize straightforwardness and a clear expression of their ideas.
You always know when your around Israelis because you can hear them. Within my few weeks of being in Israel, several things stick out to me that distinguish Israeli culture from American. One of the things that I’ve experienced here is that people are eager to make conversation with strangers. They are quick to skip small talk and do not shy away from deep topics and difficult questions, even with someone they had just met at the park. This past weekend, my friends and I were returning from a shabbat in Jerusalem on the public bus. Before we even left the station, the lady beside me started making conversation. At first she asked me about what I was doing in Israel. Then we talked about more thought provoking questions like religion and Israel-America dynamics. I found out that she’s nineteen and a half and wants to get a passport and move to America. The trend is that people are unapologetic of themselves and feel strongly about their opinions, whether it’s about a philosophical idea, what’s going on politically, or what food they should order at a restaurant. Whether for better or worse, they are straightforward in their ideas or in what they want, no matter who is in front of them. They may say things that Americans would consider not politically correct or even slightly racist; something Americans are often quick to critique. While Americans are more mindful of not offending anyone in their arguments, and ironically claim to provide an “unbiased opinion,” Israelis prioritize straightforwardness and a clear expression of their ideas. There is a curiosity that Israelis have about other cultures; they will try their best to speak English, even if their vocabulary is very limited. The atmosphere here is a more spontaneous, carefree approach to life that I haven’t experienced in the states.