prepare to be interrupted
haaretz runs a piece this week
about an internal intel training course, preparing its employees to do business
with israelis. (hebrew original)
they got some amusing observations on the gap between american
and israeli culture there:
- Don't raise politics in conversation. Better stick to topics like tourism or sport - especially football, basketball and swimming. If politics does come up, then listen, be attentive, and avoid confrontation.
- Be aware and sensitive to the fact that many Israelis have suffered personal tragedies in the political-security conflict.
- Present your ideas clearly and get directly to the point. Prepare to be interrupted in the course of your presentation.
- Israelis like to argue and enjoy discussing every topic enthusiastically. Visitors may be startled by this fervor, but in most cases don't mistake passionate argument for anger, but just a different culture of expression.
- It is acceptable to talk generally about one's personal life and a polite inquiry about an Israeli colleague's family is considered as showing interest, and will be warmly received.
- If making a presentation, be armed with plenty of supporting facts, and keep the slide show shorter than usual to allow for questions. Israelis prefer to ask questions immediately and not wait for the end of the presentation.
i made small edits to the english translation, where the translator missed
this also reminds me of that old flyer they
handed out in the international students office of my new york school, which
teaches you more about the american's perception of foreigners than
about american conversational policies.