Eylon Levy
Israeli Government Spokesman

The Firgun: Israel’s Secret Weapon

Hebrew has a number of untranslatable words, which reflect Israeli culture. Davka (דווקא) can mean ‘on purpose’, ‘specifically’ and ‘just to prove a point’. Stam (סתם) means something like ‘just because’. And Firgun (פירגון) is ‘the act of sharing in or even contributing to someone else’s pleasure or fortune, with a purely generous heart and without jealousy’.

Today — 17 July — is the world’s first International Firgun Day. The idea is simple: Choose someone worthy of a Firgun; then write a heartfelt message on their Facebook wall, with the hashtag #FirgunDay. If you’re struggling to think of a gushing and moving compliment, will generate it automatically for you. They range from the corny:

Life without you is like a broken pencil. Pointless.

To the strangely erotic:

You are the honey on my granola and greek yoghurt.

To the downright creepy:

If I kept track of every time I thought about you, the list would be as long as Rapunzel’s hair. After extensions.

So what’s the point of this day?

Stam. According to organisers Made in JLM, a Jerusalem-based volunteer network for entrepreneurs, being nice simply feels nice for everyone, and is “an excuse to re-engage with people you love and don’t publicly appreciate enough”.

And why davka today?

Because as missiles rain down on Israel, there is no better time to celebrate what makes Israel tick and thrive. According to Ari Isaacs of start-up ShapeDo, “It is extremely empowering to establish a company in a place where everyone is rooting for you” and “go out of their way to…. selflessly try and promote your venture”. It is this collaborationist spirit, in part, that enables this embattled economy to punch above its weight and defy the odds.

So come on, share the love. There’s no better way to do davka to all our haters than by reaffirming our love for each other — stam.

About the Author
Eylon Levy is an Israeli government spokesman in the October 7 War and host of the State of a Nation podcast. He previously served as international media adviser to President Isaac Herzog after a career television news anchor. He holds degrees from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Blogs from before the October 7 Massacre are in a strictly private capacity.