Fish guts! 10 shekel a kilo!

November 27, 2007

The following story comes from a dear friend of mine who recently made Aliyah. I’ve been explaining to him that life in Israel is full of really funny stuff and he’s been taking it all in. Yesterday, I got the following story in my inbox and I had to share.

For other funny stories, visit his blog

Here’s his story…

Living in Jerusalem is a great challenge, especially if you go around assuming that things make some modicum of sense, like an insane asylum, where the lines of insanity are clearly demarcated by locked doors (insane) and guys in white coats (sane). Here, it’s also like an insane asylum, except there are no clear borders, everything’s mushed together like a Jerusalem mixed grill, and the only guys in white coats are the ones who stand behind smelly counters all day at the shuk and their coats are smattered with fish guts and they’re yelling at you, “Fish guts! 10 shekel a kilo!” in 5 second intervals, each one louder than the next, until you come up to him and ask him what kind of fish guts he’s selling and he yells at you for disturbing him because he was in a groove.

So as to the belief that there is some sense in this city – only crazed lunatics believe such nonsense. Nobody here does. Everyone here is completely honest with himself, he lives in reality, he has no fantasies, he’s a realist, which is why he never assumes that when the Israel Museum attempts to charge you 37 shekels for entry during what was advertised as a free weekend, maybe, at least, someone would be at the counter to sell you the ticket, and that the museum wouldn’t be closed for renovations after you got one. Read the rest of this entry »


November 25, 2007

Speaking of funny translations of English phrases into Hebrew…

What about the time my roommate told me not to “Le’zag’zeg” in the traffic?
And what about the commercial I just heard where the guy said “Ani lo mevin klum…tess-em-ess li” (literally “I don’t understand anything…send me an SMS).

Keeps me on my toes.

Psycometri Dish

November 25, 2007



As fellow Zabajnikit Maya (ok, well, not so much Zabaj on her as she’s like 90 lbs soaking wet) is nearing her Israeli rite-of-passage, the dreaded “psychometri” exam, we learned some fun things about how the test itself is composed and what it means to Israelis and Israeli society.

It’s divided into a few parts, including Hebrew, Logic, and Math, among others. The Hebrew part I’m sure is pretty tough, but I thought I could wrap my head around the Israeli Logic section pretty well. Israeli Logic…here are some actual* sample questions from the upcoming 2007 exam. The answers are below the jump, let’s see how you do!

Answer the following multiple choice (Americai) questions.

1. (5 pts) You are waiting in line at the bank where there are two windows with tellers, and eight without. You are thirteenth in line. Suddenly, another window opens. Do you:

a) Continue waiting, relieved that at least the line will now progress more quickly

b) Take the window opening as a sign that other windows should be opened as well, and let fly a good “ALLO ALLO!”

c) Quickly rush to the newly opened window ahead of anyone else, regardless of your position in line or trampling anyone in the way

d) Line? What are you doing waiting in line in the first place? Go *immediately* to the front and demand service, frier!!

2. (3 pts) You are driving on a three-lane in each direction highway approaching an intersection. You need to make a left turn, but you notice that there is a large buildup of cars also waiting to make said turn. The other two (non-turn) lanes are wide open. Select the logical solution:

a) Enter the queue of cars at the end and await a green arrow

b) Stay in the center lane and turn from there, screw the green arrow

c) Stop at the end of the center lane, block traffic in this lane, and force your way into the front of the line, honking profusely

d) Reverse around the corner from the other side, make a three-point-turn, and look at everyone you’re inconveniencing as “frierim” who should never look at you like that

3. (10 pts) You’re at a bar with Dudi, Hezi, and Motti. You order a rum and Coke, and Dudi and Hezi order a different drink from you but the same drink as each other. Motti is drinking something red, but then orders a drink with the same carbonation as you but served in the same glass as Dudi and Hezi. What are you drinking?

a) Goldstar

b) Vodka Redbull

c) Chaser of schoog

d) None of the above — all of you are sharing one beer that remains half-full all night

4. (3.5 pts) You and a passenger are driving and need to park in front of your favorite café, but doing so requires you to block in a parked car as well as disrupt traffic in the lane you’re blocking. But you want to park there. Select the logical response:

a) Let your friend off to buy you both coffee and drive around the block so as to not disrupt the flow of traffic

b) Stop in front of the café, but send your passenger as in a) and remain in the car with the hazard lights on in case you have to move

c) Stop in front of the café, enjoy a nice coffee break, but keep a good eye on your car and move it if neccesary

d) Go inside the café, take your sweet damn time, and if anyone says anything about you blocking them in and/or blocking traffic, make sure they understand that this is their fault, not yours, and “lo kara klum.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Because You Suck, That’s Why

November 20, 2007


I read an interesting article in Haaretz today on the recent 5-day mission to Israel of a few Hollywood bigwigs. Apparently the experience culminated with a Q&A at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque with the Hollywood visitors fielding questions by Israeli film industry hopefuls. The author of the article refers to the questions unabashedly centering around “how can I get a job in Hollywood?” and never straying from that theme for too long. I mean, I see why, but some common sense? You’re talking to the most vile elitists of American society and expecting them to actually give you a satisfying answer to that question by cornering them over and over?

I can probably recreate the scene:

BigWig: So, you can see, we’re always looking abroad to film our projects and draw talen..

Dudi: Ehhhhh, how I get job in Hollywood?

BigWig: ..nt from all over the- huh? Oh, um, hi. Yeah, like I said we’re always open to new talent and …(general noncommital platitudes)…

Shmulik: So you say, I must to come make film and you pay me in Hollywood USA?

BigWig: Well, let me repeat that we’re interested in anything that makes us lots of money; with regards to specifics I can’t… (generally phony but nonoffensive American expressions of disinterest)…

Dedi: I give you script!

BigWig: No, we can’t accept unsolicited scripts for legal rea-

Dedi: No? Why? I give you — It’s make tale of hummus legacy set in…

Ugh. You see where this is going. What is it with all the “why?” anyway when you simply reject something straight up? I get it *without fail* at the car wash I occasionally go to. They’re trying to pimp on me some 600 shekel membership when a) I don’t always go there and b) I don’t need to prepay my car washes. But “no, not interested” is never enough. It’s all, “why not? nu??” Do they really think that by cornering a consumer and making him rue the day he ever told them he wasn’t interested, that I’m going to be the least bit inclined to buy anything there? BECAUSE YOUR PROPOSITION SUCKS, THAT’S WHY NOT. Why should I down-pay hundreds of shekels to save like, ten over the next 6 months? The math doesn’t even work out. I’m half tempted to bust out a PowerPoint next time.

Countering “totalitarian democracy”

November 18, 2007

Anyone who is familiar with Israeli “newspaper” sites is very familiar with te ubiquotous “talkback” feature at the bottom of almost every single page. The responses to articles on any Israeli news site are usually extremely vile, vulgar and disgusting. You’d think the only people who take the time to contribute are out of work psychopaths.

Well, one intrepid Israeli filmmaker took the plunge and produced an entire documentary about the “talkbackers.” Check out a funny video about the movie to gain some more insight into this wacky place we call home.

An Open Call for Zabaj

November 13, 2007

Have you recently been witness to an Israeli being funny ?

Or heard the word “le-com-pel” (“to compile”) ?

Or told the hairdresser exactly what you wanted and been told “no, I know what you need” ?

Or heard a government employee say “sorry, I’m not paid to write” ?

…if the answer is yes, send us an email!

Zabaj is looking for all your funny, quirky, silly stories about life in Israel, dealing with Israelis, their “fashion,” “humor” and “sense” of “entitlement” that is bounded only by their love for hummus-flavored-everything.

If you’re good (meaning you spot Zabaj-worthy content on a regular basis and know how to use a typewriter, or even a computer keyboard) then we want you to become a contributor!

Send emails now! As you would expect in Israel, the pay is not bad… the more quality content you submit the less you’ll have to pay us to post it. Trust us, you get the Value Added Tax back and can then deduct it from your “brooto” as opposed to your “netto” and come out with a great combina! I know someone at the tax authority than can help… his name is Dudu and he works between 1pm and 12:30pm every other Monday, except when there’s a strike or a Prime Minister with an approval rating under… I dunno… 0.0%.

Why I Think University Tuition Should Be Tripled

November 9, 2007

This post isn’t going to be funny. Zabaj readers used to a good laugh, don’t read on after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »