Israel Me’sudar?? Don’t be Me’shuga!!

March 27, 2007

I sometimes have nightmares of the first few months of moving to Israel and having to struggle through the bureaucratic wasteland that lay ahead of me. I remember that despite being a ‘stick your head in the sand’ kind of person when it comes to having to deal with these things I was forced to wait in long queues to register my status as New Immigrant (Olah Chadashah), register myself for rent assistance, register my driving licence to be converted, register myself for a conversion driving test, pay for a new driving license and then pay pay pay… They will never let me stop paying! 

Due to this nightmare I, as with many new immigrants who can, actively avoid having to visit the various ministries in their large intimidating buildings full of people pushing, crazy queues (I think it has already been said that Israeli’s do not queue), which ultimately end in another fruitless day sat around waiting for someone to help you, only to be told that you followed the sign to the toilet cubicles when you were looking for the cubicle to renew your car license (an honest mistake). 

However, sometimes the unavoidable occurs and I find myself staring beyond the obstacle in front of me and staring at a long deserved holiday abroad, I know that I have to take the leap. Only to take the leap one must get a passport. 

Up to a year of living in Israel you are eligible for a temporary passport (Teudat Ma’avar), without which you would not be allowed to leave the country, not even with your country of origin’s passport. When I originally went to the Interior Ministry (Misrad Hapnim) to apply for my first Teudat Ma’avar I remember walking into the new offices placed within a new forty storey building and feeling totally lost among all the different signs to the different departments. I remember walking to information only to be told that as the place was new they did not have any information. I remember that when I finally found the place I needed to be I sat in what I thought was a queue for twenty minutes only to realise that I was supposed to take a number. Finally after I took a number and sat for a further twenty minutes, I ran to the rather abrupt woman sat in my assigned cubicle who, after a further fifteen minutes of filing out forms in Hebrew, informed me that my Teudat Ma’avar would be delivered to my local post office where I could pick it up in a couple of weeks. The collection from the post office is another story… 

So when Miss Sheva called me late last night and reminded me that it was coming up to the time that I had to make the choice of either getting an Israeli passport, renewing my Teudat Ma’avar, or not ever leaving the country, I felt a shiver rush down my spine… Not another trek through Israel’s bureaucratic wilderness! It took the Children of Israel 40 years wandering in the desert to find Israel. It seems no different for the Oleh Chadash finding their way in Israel.  

Nevertheless I decided to pull off the process like a plaster (band-aid) and take my leap over the hurdle and so this morning at 7.30am Miss Sheva and I walked from the Dizengoff centre, down Kaplan towards the looming building where the Misrad Hapnim is housed. We arrived hot and bothered, the make-up we had plastered on ourselves to have pictures for our new passports taken running down our faces, our hair looking more than windswept and not looking forward to having to sit around and wait… although we were prepared for it. 

8.12am – Arrive at the steps of the Misrad Hapnim – bags searched.

8.13am – Ascend the escalators to the correct department for visas.

8.15am – Have bags checked again and go through security check in order to enter the offices.

8.16am – Try to enter the offices to be stopped by security guard who informs us that we need to go to Information.

8.17am – Stand in queue for Information

8.18 am – Ask the lady in Information where we need to go to, only to be told that she could renew the passports then and there. 

And then and there she did. In record breaking time, Miss Sheva and I received our renewed passports (which we did not have to pay for), I received a new cover for my Identity Card (Teudat Zehut) and changed my address and we were back downstairs queuing for coffee in seven and a half minutes!  

Seven and a half minutes! Has Israel finally got herself in order? Finally has Israel learnt the fine art of efficiency? We soon realised that our shock and awe was short-lived, or should I say long-lived as we realised in our excitement over the seven and a half minute experience that it was taking us twenty minutes to get a coffee… Oh well one step at a time Israel, one step at a time.

Ass pop-ups

March 27, 2007

As a follow-up to our “Have a nice ass” posting about the new ad campaign by Crocker… we now see they’ve taken their campaign to the web (which is on computers now, apparently) in the form of pop-up ads on Israeli websites. Check out the screen-shot below, inviting people to peak at the girl’s ass… classy!

Ass popup

“Dream a Little חיים”

March 25, 2007


Ok, so, we all know that Corey Feldman is Jewish, and I think maybe some of us assumed that Corey Haim is also Jewish. I mean, look at that mug. I think that kid was at my Bar Mitzvah for cry-i.

How is this Zabaj, you ask? Well look at the dude’s last name: I never thought of this, but it’s clearly f’n Chaim (חיים) transliterated for American (and Hollywood) consumption. Could you ever imagine a teen heartthrob “Corey Chaim?!”

Another tidbit: he has an Israeli parent…it’s gotta be Chaim.

Israel on the MySpacings

March 25, 2007

In an attempt to be more… I dunno… cool, Israel (yes, the country) is now officially on MySpace. Read Gregory Levey’s piece on, Israel goes on the virtual offensive.

In addition to the MySpace page, the state of Israel also now has its own blog — the first country-as-a-whole to have one, according to Saranga. The blog is called “isRealli” so as to incorporate the word “real.” It also sports the slightly odd subtitle, “The New Blog of Israel.” (“You can tell that the person who named it thinks they speak English better than they actually do,” one of the young officials in the consulate commented to me.)

Top 10 Ways the Hooters in Israel Will Be Different

March 20, 2007

10) The mild wings will be mild, and the medium wings will be mild and the hot wings will be mild

9) Lots of zabaj

8 ) “I go there for the wings” = “I go there for the hummus”

7) Cafe botz

6) Random frechot passers-by will be mistaken as employees (and probably will be)

5) The 3-mile island wings will be Ke’ilu Harif…the 911 wings will be Ke’ilu Ke’ilu Harif…and the samurai wings will be wings in thai sweet sauce

4) Shirat HaSirena will work there

3) There’ll be a selectorit to keep all the arsim out

2) Somehow they’ll find a way to charge you for the boobs (cost/boob)

1) One word: “Hooters-im” (הוטטארסים)


Did you miss the Purim Disaster?

March 20, 2007

I missed it.

Purim Disaster

If you look at the bottom of the poster, it looks like * MY SPACE * sponsored it.. maybe cuz the party is being promoted at

*Click on thumbnail for full-sized image


March 19, 2007

I was walking down Shenkin Street tonight and this sign caught my eye. I wasn’t sure if they meant to write it this way – because it’s always really cool to use English in marketing wherever possible – or if maybe they confused “she” and “her.”


shes shoes




March 18, 2007

Coming from Texas, I’m used to hearing “dubya” for the letter W.

In the Hi-tech world in the English, we shortened “www” to “dub dub dub” — it’s just easier to say.

Israelis in the Hi-tech world shorten it to “wah wah wah.”

wah wah wah? wah wah wee wah!

They Want Me to Bring a Cake? YOU Bring a Cake.

March 16, 2007


Another post about “Zabaj @ the Workplace.”

Birthdays come about once a year ’round here in Yisroel; they’re commemorated at the workplace with a cake and presents just like they would be anywhere else.

Except, there’s a small twist: for some reason, the person having the birthday is responsible for his own g-damn cake. Like, what, I go to the bakery and tell the guy to write “Happy Birthday to ME?” And so you have to remember to go get a cake (kosher too, in most cases) and bring it to work — and what if you take a bus? Like, they want me to carry a cake on the bus? You take a bus.

Annen, I forget my cake, and everyone is ready, and now I’m the asshole. On my own birthday. Splendid.

Have a nice…WHAT!?

March 15, 2007

Ok folks. I think I’ve seen it all. Kibalti Fak wished us a happy end and Zvia treated us to ass therapy but I think this one may take the cake.

I was driving down one of the most major roads in Tel Aviv the other day when this huge billboard caught my eye. My friends and I immediately burst into laughter.


Have a nice ass?


Now what exactly does that infer? When do you wish a nice ass to someone else? Is that like “Have a nice day” or “Enjoy your meal”…or maybe it’s more like “Would you like fries with that?”

Crocker is an Israeli-based jeans company…and they’re wishing us all a nice ass!

The Israeli Workplace

March 13, 2007

So, I think the time has come to highlight what I like to call “Zabaj in the Workplace.”

In Israel, and especially the industry in Israel in which the Jook makes his current living, age and seniority are placed above above talent and personal dedication in most situations. This often means “let’s take advantage of the Americaki kid at the end of the hall.”

I’ve been hemming and hawing for quite some time now about the boxes, trash, and paper-to-be-shredded for which my office has served as a dumping ground. After several months of complaints, this has really only gotten worse and there’s new crap almost every day.

To make a point, I don’t touch any of it, and I let it build up as much as possible. YES, I *COULD* throw some of this sh*t away myself but that’s not the point.

Enjoy the attached exhibits, and if you have any questions, I’ll just go f*ck myself.

myoffice1.jpgmyoffice2.jpg myoffice3.jpg

Ass Therapy at Castro

March 12, 2007

From Zvia, an avid Zabajnikit…

While visiting Israel last month I wanted to buy jeans, so I went to check out Castro. Immediately a worker was on top of me, throwing “jeansim” at me and saying, “you need this pair and this pair.” I was like, “lookie here, it’s JEANS and I’m not interested.” That obviously didn’t deter her so she raised my shirt to see my waist and started guessing my size. I told her what it was but she didn’t believe me, so she called over her stupid friend, who told me I’m not the size I said I am. They know. They also thought I’m “yotzet min ha’klal” (out of the ordinary) with the “jeansim” on and how its “sof ha’derech.”

One of the girls called Gad over, who talked to me about how my body is perfect for the jeansim and how he wasn’t going to let me leave without them. Then all three started talking about how I actually do have an ass and I’m not just some random skinny girl. They actually were tapping me on the shoulder going, “yeee you go girl” and then made me try on the other pair and do the whole thing again.

The worker told me that I must buy both pairs and that I shouldn’t worry because she’d split up the payments on different credit cards for me, as if that meant I’d save money. The whole time I was thinking, “What the hell? What do these crazy Israelis do? Does that make it seem like its less money? And why would that make me, a rich American, want to buy the jeansim more?”

After all, it turns out the jeansim were nice and just what I wanted so I bought them… and meanwhile they started pushing “t-shirtim” on me. I basically ran out of there without my shoes on as if I was escaping from a bunch of wild animals with Bamba on their breath.

Oh, and did I mention that the whole time they kept comparing their fat asses to mine and saying that, although they wear the jeansim, they don’t look as good on them as they do on me. It was sort of like a group ass-therapy session for them and all I wanted was some jeansim.

Am Yisrael Bye!

The United State of America

March 12, 2007

A classic mistake that Israeli make when speaking English is – for whatever reason – leaving off the “S” at the end of word that should end with one.

Get used to hearing Israeli talking about flying on airplane (American Airline?) to place like Fairbank, Alaska and Saint Peterburg, Russia, after graduating from Tuft university.

Share your S-less word in the comment section…

A Hypothetical Conversation With Ivri Lider

March 11, 2007


So, last weekend a friend of mine had a birthday party at a popular Ahad Ha’am bar. One of her friends is apparently dating Ivri Lider, who was in attendance unbeknown to me. He was sitting against the wall in the room we had reserved — most definitely looking like a rock star — but if someone hadn’t told me who he was I probably wouldn’t have made the connection. Which brings up a funny hypothetical conversation that very well could have happened if nobody had told me and I had, well, gotten a little drunker:

Jook: Hey, what’s up.

Ivri: Hi.

Jook: So, who do you know here?

Ivri: …

Jook: K. Um, so, what do you do?

Ivri: I’m in music.

Jook: Oh really? Me too! Have you heard Kojakabana or La Chaka-

Ivri: No. Haven’t.

Jook: Aw man, sucks. I have this studio even, you should check it out. I used to be in this band in the States too…we played the House of Blues a few times. You ever played there?

Ivri: No, I’m mostly–

Jook: Aw sh*t man, it was cool. Like, over a thousand people. Well, anyway, good luck with the music thing and if you wanna jam sometime get my number from [name omitted]!

I’ll trade you a pacifier for that cigarette!?!

March 9, 2007

This is a cute little children’s book. I found it at a book store in Tel Aviv.

If you can’t read the Hebrew it says … “My Pacifier, Daddy’s Pacifier”


Above: Hebrew something like this … “Here exactly how it looks. Me and Daddy after a meal. Sitting together on the blue couch. Playing and Pampering. Each one with his own treat. Me with my pacifier that I call Tzetzi and Daddy with his cigarette that he sometimes calls the After Cigarette (I think he means after a meal)”

Above: Hebrew … “suddenly Daddy says: Tell me son, you are already 4, isn’t it time you quit your pacifier? It is making your teeth crooked. It’s always between your lips. It’s really dangerous to your health”

Below:Look, It’s father and son play-time with the cigarettes.

Below:Let’s switch pacifiers, Wooohoo. What!?

Below:Cigarette flavored Pacifier, anyone?

Above:This book is actually about teaching a kid to quit his pacifier while his dad quits cigarettes. It was written by a PSYCHOLOGIST, a professor of psychology from the University of Tel Aviv. I hope this doctor gets his license revoked.

Frequent Rip-Off Club

March 8, 2007


I get the idea of “preferred shopper” card programs at supermarkets. Yes, it’s annoying to fill out the forms, but you can get special deals and generally save money this way. The store benefits by being able to exercise some price discrimination, collect info about you and your shopping habits, and give you good reason to keep coming only to them.

Israel, being the country it is, decides they’ll also charge you for this. Usually some nominal fee that really has no basis in anything. That’s balls. You’re paying so they can track everything you buy and get you to shop there more. Splendid.

Ditto for El Al . Sorry, but I just can’t see what they’re making from the $15 fee it costs to sign up. It’s just annoying really; and for something that essentially should pay for itself in good marketing for the company, how do they justify also charging me for it?

What’s next? I get asked to fill out a survey in the mall and they send me a bill?

Why don’t I just go f*ck myself?


March 8, 2007

Just heard this in my office …

לקרש את הסרבר

LeKaresh et HaServer

Which means…”To crash the server.”

RIP: Chana Nicole Smith

March 7, 2007

Asael: Rambo STOP!

Rambo: man, can’t you see I am taking a leak?

Asael: yes but not on this sign! have some respect, ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS DEAD!!!

Rambo: oh no! that’s terrible! who the fuck is Anna Nicole Smith?

Asael: remember that fat blond chick who became very thin; she was an American model, actress and celebrity. Her highly publicized marriage to oil business executive and billionaire J. Howard Marshall, 63 years her senior, resulted in speculation that she married the octogenarian for his money, which she denied.

Rambo: you mean that girl that used to talk like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo First Blood Part II?

Asael: yes.

Rambo: and she’s dead?

Asael: yes, she is dead.

Rambo: did you kill her?

Asael: no, stupid! I don’t kill blondes!

Rambo: brunettes?

Asael: I really can’t talk about it!

Rambo: whisper to me!


Rambo: ok got it… so we’re going to her funeral?

Asael: well, for some reason it’s not so much a funeral as there is a big trance party in Yaffo. And we’re not going!

Anna Nicole

The sign, posted throughout the streets of Tel Aviv, reads:

We are shocked at the unexpected death of the trash bunny

Anna Nicole Smith, rest in peace

Thirty days following her death, a memorial ceremony will take place, in the Cliff Club in Yaffo, at 33 Tzorfim Street, Friday, March 2nd, 2007

The mourning family:

Pug, MySpace, Notorious Jay and Electro Panica

* for more from Rambo the dog, check out his blog.

Everything’s Cheddar Cheese

March 7, 2007

Just like with “zabaj,” its always fun to create new Israeli slang. Another invention of our’s is a slight twist on two popular phrases: “hakol beseder” and “beseder gamur,” which translate to “everything’s ok” and “perfectly ok.” I proudly present:

הכל בצ’דר and בצ’דר גמור (“hakol bechedder” and “bechedder gamur)

As you might imagine, we delighted in recognizing the phonetic similarities between “cheddar” and “beseder” in Hebrew. Even thought it doesn’t make any sense – “everything’s cheddar” and “perfectly cheddar” – we stand behind our new slag. So

next time you’re out and the waiter asks you if everything’s ok, tell him everything’s perfectly cheddar.

Big Business

March 6, 2007

Many global companies have offices in Israel. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Israelis know how to pronounce their names. This tidbit comes from Zabajnik Rafi:

Israelis pronounce the name of the accounting firm Ernst & Young as “Ernest Young.” Even people who work there pronounce it like that! Try it for yourself, call them up and smile as the receptionist answers the phone by saying “Shalom, Ernest Young.”