Israel, Fuck Ya!

*This title was dictated to me by a young man of rather obvious nationality.
* I was later told to change it to “Israelis, fuck ya,” because, according to him, “we have soul, we are persons.”

I have met so many Israelis during my trip that they warrant their own blog post, if not their own teeny tiny country.

Let us begin with Dor, who has a girlfriend named Seashell. Having recently finished three years of military service, Dor has taken up carving horrifying effigies into avocado pits while bumming across Central America, one of which he gifted to me. When not carving, Dor is a staunch defender of the Hebrew language, explaining away the need for superfluous words, like one for feet.

One of Dor’s early creations, when he was still perfecting the art of avocado pit carving.

“It’s not funny. It’s entirely reasonable,” he insists, explaining that in Hebrew you just refer to that foot appendage thing as “the palms of my legs.”

Dor’s bosom buddy is Yoav, a photographer and musician who isn’t particularly good at pulling up his pants after using the toilet, but is who is most definitely, definitely, Jewish.

Yoav and Dor heckled me over my lack of haggling skills at every opportunity, especially after I almost paid $4.20 for a pair of sunglasses when the Guatemalan market man would have “obviously” gone down to $3.75. In the hostal Yoav learned the diddy “America, fuck ya!,” which he took to signing at every opportunity, like during breakfast, or after exposing his man bits to his scribbling Canadian roommate.

“You wrote that it was 15 inches, right?” he asks as I doodle in my travel journal, “no wait, make that 20.”

“What exactly did you do in the Israeli army?” I ask him, changing the subject. “I was a tank commander,” explains Yoav, “I went around attanking things.”

I’m almost positive that’s what he said.

Weeks earlier I met Smadar and Omer, a honeymooning couple who spent the evening teaching me an obscure, traditional Israeli card game name “Taki,” which quickly revealed itself to be nothing more than Uno wearing a Kippah.

By the time I got to Mexico I was quite good at recognizing the Israelis, since they all wear the same sandals. And if for some reason I met an Israeli without the sandals, they always had a perfectly reasonable explanation for why they weren’t wearing their nation’s heritage on the palms of their legs: “they were stolen” or “I lost them” or “they broke.” Never did I meet an Israeli who just flat out didn’t own a pair. (Note to Palestine: the sandals may just be their kryptonite. Note to my new Israeli friends: just kidding.)

Yoav models the Israeli sandal on the palm of his arms.

At this point you may be wondering how I made so many Israeli friends, given my political correctness. Strangely, it wasn’t my love of the sandals, nor my fluency in German.

In the back of my journal I’ve kept a list of all useful expressions in other languages: “Chuchumanga,” for mocking Americans, “wuggende, wuggende, wuggende” for befriending Danes, “Snyggt Skägg” for charming handsome bearded men and “am Arsch der Welt” for explaining where in the hell Tikal is located.

After a few too many Mexican margaritas with Israeli Noa I wrote “Yesh li tzitzi ve moach, yesh li hakol” in my notebook, but forgot to include the translation. It wasn’t until the end of my trip that Dor and Yoav explained how I managed to make so many friends with that one saying.

Because apparently it means: “”I have titties and brains. I’m the whole package”.” Fuck, ya.

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