So what is it like to live in Israel?
I returned from a trip to the states last month and was as usual was quite annoyed with the incessant questioning about my life here. Call me impatient but it’s the same thing every time and it can get quite annoying. So one night after a difficult dinner where the amount of silly questions matched the amount of drinks I had I jotted down the most common questions. The most common of course is being asked “What is it like to live in Israel?” People fail to understand that my life here is not a Disney-esque adventure where I jump from an archeological site to the Great Synagogue and back again. Sure I live in Israel, but I have a real job, real problems and a real life.
Here are a few of the most common questions asked of me, my real answers and the answers I would really like to give.
Question: Do you like living in Israel?
Answer: Very much.
What I would like to answer: No, I’ve only stayed here for the past eleven years because of self-hatred and my love of bureaucracy.
Question: Should Jerusalem be divided? I don’t think it should be.
Answer: That is a complicated question that I would need hours to answer.
What I would like to answer: Well, that is a fairly complicated question that I can’t even approach. It isn’t so black and white and frankly, your opinion on the matter means nothing to me. Just because you stay at the King David Hotel once a year does not give you the right to determine the future of Israel’s capital city.
Question: Is it quiet over there?
What I would like to answer: It’s quiet right now, but you never know when the next bulldozer attack is going to be and I hear Iran is developing nuclear energy.
Question: I know someone who moved to Modi’in last year? Do you know David, uh, what’s his last name (screams to wife/husband “What is David’s last name?”)
Answer: Modi’in is a fairly large city and most of my friends live in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
What I would like to answer: Even if I did know this person who you apparently do not know very well since you do not even know their last name where can we possibly take this conversation next?
Question: Your daughter, does she understands Hebrew? Do you speak to her in Hebrew or English at home?
Answer: Yes, she understands Hebrew. They speak to her in Hebrew at daycare. We speak to her exclusively in English at home.
What I would like to answer: Well, if we want her to speak like someone with a severe learning disability we would speak to her exclusively in Hebrew. Of course we speak to her in English, it would be a crime to rob her of the gift of fluency in English.
Oh, I’m really not that bitter…I did have several drinks before jotting all this down. And I was just really missing the land where high fructose corn syrup can’t be found, the hummus is more common in it’s unpackaged form and where salad is served with every meal. I just couldn’t wait to get home already.