Sorry seems to be the hardest word

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Israeli TV screens are in the cooking show phase.  This in essence means that at any point during the day or evening the chance of you seeing a cooking show is probably around 60%.  Israelis like food, they like cooking and they like competing so what better way to combine all three and make ratings grabbing telly?  Yep, schedule another cooking competition.  Masterchef is one of the highest rating shows ever in Israel and the competition channel has just started airing a new prime time cooking competition of its own, Game of Chefs.

I am not a great fan of these shows, perhaps if they were in English it would make viewing more palatable (ha ha) but in the interests of research (I write about TV as part of my job) I watched part of an episode of Masterchef a couple of weeks ago and stumbled upon a fellow Brit contestant.  This fella had balls, he didn’t speak much Hebrew and he was merrily auditioning to be on a prime time Hebrew TV show.  I am always in awe of people who couldn’t care less that they don’t speak Hebrew fluently as I am of the mind that its better to stay silent than risk looking a fool.  When the judges came to taste his creation one of them told him to ‘stop saying sorry’ and that to me encapsulated the whole difference between the Brits and the Israelis.  We apologise, they say stop.  They say stop, we apologise.

In fact us Brits say sorry whenever we get the chance.  Someone pushes in front of us in a queue, we apologise, ‘sorry, I was there’.  Someone bumps us on public transport, we apologise.  Someone serves us cold/bad/wrong food in a restaurant, we apologise;’sorry but this is cold/tastes funny/not what I ordered’.  Sound familiar?  Why oh why do we do it.  When we lived in London my husband used to ask me,’why does everyone keep apologising?’.  “Because we are polite”?

Today I fly to Geneva, back to Europe where manners count.  I always wonder whether I have become so Israeli that I will forget to say pardon, or sorry or thank you.  I will make an effort to keep my Britishness and use this weekend as a little update on social etiquette.

So to the land of chocolate, snow and watches.  A heartfelt sorry to the childers and husband who have a weekend to fend for themselves.  I will return, chock full of choc and cold fresh air.  Now, to practise je suis desolee and merci.

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2 responses »

  1. So true. The first Hebrew words I learned were “toda rabah.” Whew! Got that covered early on–and in Israel I employ it every chance I get. Lead by example, right?

  2. I say ‘Sorry’ all the time, so much that it even drives me mad!! Just to make you feel at home, ‘ani miztaeret’ – I hope my google search gave me the right answer and isn’t making fun of me!!

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