Guest Post by Michelle Esther Appelbaum, MA Educational Psychology; MBA
It is easy to describe a typical Israeli â€œArsâ€; their appearance and behavior screams so loud, the sound can practically choke you. For more information, please see my guide: â€œLadiesâ€¦ Beware of the Ars!â€ One of the first steps in problem solving is awareness, and it is far from a difficult task to raise â€œArs Awarenessâ€. One the other hand, how do you avoid the less obvious, less in-your-face, less apparent jerks who are equally harmful, if not more so?
Truth be told, there is nothing more valuable than the lessons we derive from first-hand experiences and time spent learning from our own mistakes (failures are actually successes, so long as we learn from them). That being said, there are many tricks that can help crystallize and define what to look out for during your stay in Israel, especially for women like myself who are in the Holy Land for an MRS degree, among other reasons.
First and foremost, I should mention that just as in any other place, there are plenty of bad mixed in with the good, but it is important to say â€œCol HaCavodâ€ to the Israeli gever-gevers who are NOT being described in this article! There are plenty of intelligent, innovative, hilarious, successful (& sexy) Israeli men who deserve creditâ€¦ and we can talk about that another time. For now, letâ€™s focus on the bad guys that no woman with confidence or self-respect wants to have in her life. Unfortunately, it is simply harder to recognize that type when blinded by the â€œIsraeli-nessâ€ of men here.
Sure, they are good looking, charming, assertive and friendlyâ€¦but what are their intentions? Ladies, we have certain advantages and disadvantages to Israeli women, and without a doubt, the worst disadvantage is our reputation. Israeli men, upon realizing that we are not Israeli, immediately think one thing: easy. Prove them wrong!
Hey, thereâ€™s nothing wrong with fulfilling your fantasies in private (you deserve it!), but make sure to do so with the right type of man.
Now that housecleaning is out of the way, I would like to provide you with some typical situations to be aware of. First, you have your â€œfast fallersâ€. Iâ€™m not saying thereâ€™s no such thing as love at first sight, but realistically, easy come equals easy go. Many men here (sociological and psychological reasons exist but wonâ€™t be discussed at the moment) have a tendency to fall hard and fast. This is not the type of man you want to be with! If he can say such charming, beautiful and romantic words to you in so quick a timeframe, he can just as easily do the same to another woman. True story.
â€œYihie Besederâ€ is invaluable, and can save lives. That being said, it does not apply to every situation, every time, with every person in every place (Sorry Benji!) If it feels too right and seems too good to be true, it probably is. I am optimistic, donâ€™t get me wrong. I like to see the good in people and believe in â€œinnocent until proven guiltyâ€, but we have to keep our eyes open. Israeli men have a strong ability to sweep women off their feet, but as my dear friend Tupac once said, â€œKeep your head up, legs closed, and eyes openâ€.
Then, there is the â€œspontaneousâ€ man. Just because you are not interested in going to a â€œtzimmerâ€ with him this weekend in the North (highly recommended, given more normal conditions and circumstances) does not make you any less spontaneous of a girl. You can be free-spirited, wild, open and spontaneous and smart, all at once; you donâ€™t need to prove anything to Dudi or Eli or Itzik.
Next, Israelâ€™s finest: the â€œring-lessâ€ man. It is a ridiculous notion, but do they actually think that by you not asking, and them not telling, they have done no wrong by being married and flirting with you? Of course, when you find out, they insist that nothing was going to happen and they were just being friendly (but we know better, donâ€™t we, ladies?) Oh, and men, using Judaism as an excuse is just pathetic: youâ€™re not nearly religious enough to pull that one off!
One of my personal favorites is the â€œNever enoughâ€ guy. He can contact you via facebook, email, text, calling, Whatâ€™s App, twitter, LinkedIn, and more and more. It makes sense to him that if you arenâ€™t available on one, he should try the next. Fair enough, right? But to what extent? Guys: if you tried one or two, give it a rest. Trying ten different forms of communication just to contact her and see if she wants falafel at your uncleâ€™s neighborâ€™s ex-girlfriendâ€™s dog-walkerâ€™s best friendâ€™s sisterâ€™s new stand is a little much, no? Ladies, if this happens even ONCE, take is as a red flag. This obnoxious behavior turns into a pattern; if it bothers you now, it will only bother you ten times more in the future. Back away while you still can!
Last, but not least, the â€œbusiness meetingâ€. Letâ€™s be honest: being a woman is fun, powerful and satisfying, but can be equally challenging and frustrating. All too often, in sophisticated, professional settings, men will invite you to a business meeting. This is great, potentially: â€œWhat wonderful opportunities are in front of me!â€ you might think, until Dedy suggests you order vodka-redbull instead of cafÃ© hafuch. It is one thing to show up to a business meeting in your trendy new blazer from Castro just to find everyone else in flip flops and t-shirts, but it is completely different to be in a private or intimate setting, especially when alcohol is involved.
Generally, there are a few important questions I recommend asking:
1. â€œWhere did you serve in the army?â€
2. â€œWhere were you raised?â€
3. â€œWhere do you see yourself raising a family?â€
Take the answers to these questions very seriously; they reveal a lot about a person. Ask yourself if this is what you really want. The most crucial tool I can provide you with is to practice this simple exercise: Look at the Israeli man sitting across from you at the table. Imagine you are with him in your home country. For example, if you are American, take Amit and call him Andrew. Get rid of his Israeli accent. Try to think of what Andrew would be doing if he were in America (I know this canâ€™t possibly fit perfectly, because life in Israel and life in the States are incomparable, but play around with it). Ask yourself if you would be with this person back in your hometown. If you can honestly say that you would, proceed. Enjoy the moment with your Israeli man, and never let your suspicions or doubts hold you back from having fun with him, but stay smart about how you chose to do so. May the Schwartz be with you!
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Michelle Appelbaum was born in Chicago, IL and raised in Los Angeles, California. From California State University, Northridge, she has a BA in Child & Adolescent Development, an MA in Educational Psychology: Development, Learning and Instruction, and an MBA from Tel Aviv University. Michelle’s interests include Business Development, Market Research, Organizational Consulting, Psychology, and Israel.