Hot dudes and humus. No, this is not the title of my impending memoir but a- this Instagram account and b- two things my girlfriends guaranteed I would be “literally, obsessed with” when I announced my plans to finally touch base with 50% of my heritage and pay a visit to Israel.
While I was certain that the chickpeas fiend in me would have a blast, I wasn’t as convinced about my demi-shiksa. As a New Yorker I am used to Israelis coming with a certain stigma, notorious for shady business dealings in the same way that Russians are infamous for insurance scams. My friends assured me that this was simply a stereotype created by a small segment and that I was really in for a personal Promised Land of hot hipsters with MIT scientist minds.
They may have been slightly overselling, but they weren’t entirely wrong. In addition to its unparalleled food and beaches and a cultural heritage that interrupts your life for a quick reevaluation, Israel can certainly count beautiful men (and women!) as its national treasure, guaranteed to lure young Birthright dwellers for years to come.
Having spent a full week studying both the culture and its modern-day male representatives, I have decided to deliver my key learning on Israeli guys via my own play on the Ten Commandments. Please imagine me relaying them from Mount Sinai.
1. Thou shalt speak your mind.
Perhaps as a result of mandatory military service, Israeli people appear completely incapable of sugarcoating their message with the customary glaze of bullshit. Their directness is palpable in every mundane interaction (and can easily unnerve those seeking ass-kissing in customer service) but is particularly present in their pickup game, which can be best described as ‘blunt bordering on aggressive’. Picture a guy you have known for ten minutes informing you that, while he is not interested in anything serious, he would like to “make beautiful love” to you. Yes, this happened to a friend of mine and yes, make beautiful love they did. No bullshit was lost in translation – which is quite refreshing, if you ask me.
2. Thou shalt have strong opinions.
Israeli people are born into a heavy-hearted history. They grow up in the midst of the world’s most complex geopolitical conflict, where danger and death are not just CNN soundbites but constant elements of their reality. They spend three years serving their country, after which many backpack around the world for a fresh take on life. As a result, these guys are truly connected with their country – and the rest of the world – in a way that most of us cannot understand. They never shy away from a serious conversation and have no problem expressing their opinion, controversial as it may be.
Oh, they are also very passionate, giving Italians a run for their word-per-minute ratio and gesticulation.
3. Thou shalt party like there’s no tomorrow.
Literally. Tel Aviv feels like one continual Spring Break, which a book I’m reading explains in one sentence: “in Tel Aviv, if you drink or eat or party enough, even the worst kind of war feels like peace.” Escapism aside, the energy is infectious. On my second night in Tel Aviv, I made the mistake of mentioning that I hate going out to an Israeli guy, only to have him spend the rest of the night amicably mocking me for being a “librarian” and offering me tea en lieu of tequila. Little did I know that by day four I would be going to da club every night, straight from the beach, in my bathing suit. (FYI this is the most casual place in the world, which may sell me on making Aaliyah!)
Did I mention that they have their own Burning Man?
4. Thou shalt undress every woman on the street with your gaze.
(Ugh.) Definitely a downside once you get past the initial ego boost. The last time I encountered this much casual ogling was in Istanbul, i.e. Sexual Harassment HQ where I got groped by members of my hotel staff. The only difference is that the men in Israel seem to be a “look but don’t touch” crowd, which makes the predicament far more tolerable.
5. Thou shalt have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Forget Silicon Valley – Tel Aviv’s startup scene is thriving with brilliant geeks on the verge of tapping into the next AI or cybersecurity breakthrough. The memory of them adorning sidewalk coffee shops in all their hipster glory is one that I hold close to my heart, right alongside the view of Jerusalem’s Old City.
6. Thou shalt be good at building stuff.
As former soldiers, these brilliant geeks are equipped with survival and handyman skills that will make all your Ikea fantasies come true.
7. Thou shalt be romantic.
Once upon a million years ago, a friend of mine went on a Birthright trip and came back in love with an Israeli bartender. One month later, he was standing on her Jane Street doorstep, all of his life invested into his (one-way!) TLV>NYC ticket. I won’t ruin the story by recounting the disaster that ensued, but the grandeur of that gesture was never lost on me. Supposedly they also plan great dates, whisking you off on beachside promenades and gastronomical adventures..
8. Thou shalt engage in copious amounts of PDA.
While I immediately noted Paris-level make out sessions all over Tel Aviv, one scene in particular scarred my prudish eyes. I was standing by the bar at a nightclub when I spotted a couple passionately making out, with the guy simultaneously exploring the girl’s nether regions with his hands. Suddenly, they stopped. They thoughtfully looked down at her denim-clad crotch area. They conversed. I naively assumed that they were configuring the location of their sleepover party, when they suddenly recommenced full force, driving the whole thing home within a few (extremely awkward) minutes. The weirdest thing? Nobody else noticed.
9. Thou shalt be family oriented.
Back to the PG stuff. In coherence to all Jewish culture, Israelis are known for strong, close-knit families that stick together and encourage expedited matrimony and manifold procreation (i.e. MARRIAGE & BABIES). Aaliyah +200 points!
10. Thou shalt have good hair.
#genetically #blessed #theend #shalom