Thursday, September 30, 2010

do you see me standing in line here?

To wrap up a visit with family over the September holidays in Paris, Prague and Zilina, Slovakia, we stopped in Greece for a few nights.  We're on Rhodes island at the moment, at the Sheraton.

Turns out all of Israel came here too.  Kids are running up and down the halls yelling, while families are leaving their room doors open and talking with their loudest voices....

At breakfast this morning I grab a glass and step up to the fountain to fill it with water.  A couple with a stroller are standing in front filling their water bottle, so I wait patiently.  As they step away, another guy steps right in front of my and puts his glass under the water spout.  To which I replied, "Seriously?  I was in line here first!"  After he finishes filling his glass he says, "oh, sorry,"  with an Israeli accent, then walks off. 

While he does not represent all Israeli's, nor do the loud families in the halls, or the parents who let their children keep on screaming in the dining room instead of taking them out and teaching them that certain behavior is unacceptable in public, it gets harder to reserve judgement when patterns emerge.  Of course, the Germans in Thailand had their own selfish behaviors - throwing their stuff on all the beach chairs at 8am, then leaving them for hours at a time unused and unavailable to others. 

I can't help but wonder though, that if it is so important to many Israeli's to present a different image on the international stage, why don't they start at the grassroots level by changing individual behavior, especially when they go abroad and/or interact with foreigners?  I realize that accomplishing this is a sociological challenge, but one option might be to include education of other cultural norms in the K-12 school system, to raise awareness of how behavior can be interpreted differently by different cultures.  I'm not saying that Israeli's need to change.  It may help, however, to understand the role that their own actions play in others perceptions. 


  1. how do you suppose you were perceived by the Isrealis while in Greece? I've had people of all cultures be rude and cut in front in lines. Is this behavior changing as we become more focused on our communications through technology rather than direct with people?

    Can you add an RSS feed widget to your site?

  2. You bring up a very good point. How do Israeli's see me? Am I timid? Is my lack of engagement in heated communication offensive?

    If you are Israeli, and you are reading this, please reply!

    The impact of technology adds a whole additional layer of complexity, especially in the hi-tech capital of the world here.

    I'll try to add the RSS feed widget now. Thanks for the suggestion!