Ten years on and there are many things in Israel, quirks shall we say, that I didn’t think I would ever get used to. In fact on arrival many of them struck me at the least strange and at the worst absurd. Here are my favourites;
1. Cottage. No not a small quaint house in the countryside but cottage cheese. Yes cottage cheese is called cottage and when I told the childers that we were going to stay in a cottage they thought it was hilarious.
2. Breakfast of salad (with onion) and the ubiquitous, cottage. Just. No.
3. Young men going out in the evening for a coffee. In fact many go out for coffee and cake. In touch with their feminine sides or just not lager louts like the Brits?
4. 1 day weekends. I believe I have complained about this before. Kids go to school, some people work. The weekend starts on Friday afternoon and ends as the sun goes down on Saturday. Too darned short.
5. Shabbat. I have also talked about this delicious day before. When the roads are quiet, the stores are closed and you don’t feel you should be doing something other than hanging out with the family or relaxing at the beach.
6. What we in the UK would call cheek nay rudeness – chutzpah. ‘How much do you earn?’, How much do you pay for your mortgage/rent/weekly shop?’. ‘Why don’t you have more/less children?’ etc etc.
7. Handball. Its a game where grown men run around a pitch hitting a ball with the palm of their hand to each other. What? (along the lines curling in its absurdity)
8. Going out at midnight. I like to sleep. I liked to sleep when I was still young enough to go out at night. To rest until 11pm and then get up to go out is just plain weird.
9. Throw away cups, crockery, cutlery and soft drinks. Go to any event, wedding, funeral, bar mitzvah or political meeting and you will find these arranged on the table. There is a genuine reason behind it – the laws of kashrut for those who keep kosher – but it always strikes me as odd to arrive at an event and see orange squash and plastic utensils laid on the table.
10. Buy 2 get 1 free. I only want one. Where’s my discount?