It is fun being an Oleh Chadash from the USA. Unlike the French, Israelis tend to love people from the USA. The French get insulted when Americans assume everyone speaks English. Most Israelis do speak English and sometimes the ones that don’t apologize to me for not being able to speak English – like it is somehow their fault that I forgot everything that I was taught back in Hebrew School. It is even more incredible when you consider that Israelis rarely apologize for their behavior — especially the one Israeli that I married (But that is a conversation for our therapist.)
I think that Israelis love people from the USA because in general, the people that they meet from the USA are pretty great. Not all people from the USA choose to visit Israel. Some choose to visit France or Italy or even China. The others drive to Disney World in Orlando, Florida where you can visit all of these countries and more at EPCOT’s World Showcase in a single day (a great bargain). The people who choose to come to Israel from the USA aren’t doing it because they want to experience freshly fried balls of mashed chick peas no matter how delicious they are. Americans come to Israel because they love Israel. The best way to get me to like you is to first demonstrate how much you like me. Israelis fall victim to the same trick. If someone chooses to spend thousands of dollars and 12 hours on an airplane just to come visit me, that is a serious sign of affection.
All this works in my favor. When I tell Israelis that I made Aliyah from the USA, I usually get the red carpet treatment. But sometimes I get the question, “What is wrong with you?” “Why would you leave the USA for Israel?” These questions are always followed up by a list of all the things that are wrong with Israelis. Israelis who hate Israelis don’t want to hear my opinion. Israelis who hate Israelis don’t believe me that there are also people who drive inconsiderately in the USA. According to these Israelis, every American is a kind, compassionate, and generous person. And for the most part, Americans visiting Israel behave exactly that way.
On top of that, Israelis who hate Israelis think that all Americans are rich. And unless you are on a Birthright trip, it helps to be rich when you want to fly half way around the world for a vacation instead of driving to Disney World like the rest of America. Israelis who hate Israelis think I am an idiot for leaving a country filled with loving and generous rich people.
Don’t misunderstand me, I like Americans just as much as the next person. Some of my best friends are from the USA. It just bothers me when Israelis speak badly of Israelis. First, they are wrong. Second, it reinforces negative stereotypes. Third, I don’t like it when people think I am an idiot.
Here is the News Flash for all of you Israelis who hate Israelis. America has its fair share of annoying people just like every other country in the world. The difference between an annoying American and an annoying Israeli is that one of them is family.
It simply doesn’t make any sense to hate your family.