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What Can You Do in Israel That You Can't Do in the United States?

by Matt Hershberger Apr 5, 2015

ISRAEL IS IN SOME WAYS very similar to the United States, and in other ways, very different. The perception of Israel in the US is almost of a mini-western country tucked into the Middle East, but in many ways, that’s just not the case. An anonymous Quora user wanted to know a bit more, so put the question to the ask-me-anything site: “What can you do in Israel that you can’t do in the United States?”

Here are some of the answers.

On the dress code: Natan Gesher pointed out that only in Israel can you “show up to a wedding in blue jeans and sandals,” while Yehudit Hasin says that in Israel you can “go in jeans and t-shirt everywhere and to any occasion.” Oren Shafir also points out that you can “dress casually at a funeral — without being disrespectful.”

On dating: Natan Gesher says only in Israel can you “be invited to a family dinner by a taxi driver so you can meet his single daughter.”

On travel: Lia Nuevo points out that in the US, you cannot “do a one day road trip and visit three seas,” and Andres Magnusson says that you can also “go to the beach in the morning, get on a bus and go skiing in the afternoon.”

On kissing: Erica Greene Rosenstock says in Israel you can “Hug and kiss your teenaged children’s friends without being considered a weirdo,” and that you can “see men kiss each other regardless of sexual preference.”

On titles: Erica Greene Rosenstock also points out that you can “call your teachers and professors by their first names.” Oren Shafir says “if you’re in the military,” you can “call your superiors by their first name.”

On priorities: Yehudit Hasin says in Israel you can “put your family and life ahead of career without anyone holding it against you.”

On police interactions: Aviv Eyal says you can “argue your way out of a traffic ticket (and not in the polite way).”

On trusting strangers: Aviv Eyal says you can “ask a total stranger to watch over your bag, laptop, and sandwich when running off to the bathroom (and know they will be there when you get back)” and that you can “watch children playing in the park (without being charged as a ‘sex offender.’” Nadine Bonner adds that “you can send your 7-year old to the supermarket to pick up an item you need for a dish you are cooking,” and that you can “have the child return with the item but report she was 5 shekels short and the cashier said to send the money tomorrow.”

On drinking: Shmuel Chak mentions you can buy booze at a store before you turn 21.

On food: You can have “mushrooms in the winter and not in summer,” Ilana Halupovich says. Erica Greene Rosenstock adds you can “eat proper pita, cucumbers, persimmons, apricots,” and can only have strawberries in the winter. She also points out you can “eat local produce without making an effort.” Yehudit Hasin goes a step further and says you can “eat the best food on the planet.” Matan Melamed also mentions that you can “reach into your friend’s snack and take a bite without asking.”

You can read the rest of the answers at Quora’s page for the question here. Do you have anything to add?

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