Naama Barak
December 31, 2018

Ahhh, the New Year — a time for contemplation, soul-searching and a short-lived determination to make things different this year. We thought we’d take a quick look at the top 10 things Israelis should consider putting on their New Year’s resolutions list.

1. Learn how to stand in line

Can Israelis learn how to queue up properly? Photo by Avi Dishi/FLASH90

Finding your Israel-bound flight at the airport is a pretty simple thing to do. Just look for the mass of people refusing to form an orderly line. It’s still unknown whether Israelis are actually physically incapable of standing in line, but it sure feels so. And since Israelis are absolutely awed by the way people form lines abroad, perhaps that’s motivation enough to start working on it.

2. Stop smoking

Recognize the smell of smoke wafting through the streets of Israel? That’s because 22 percent of Israelis over the age of 20 smoke at least one cigarette a day. Now would really be the time to quit – not only is the habit horribly unhealthy, it’s expensive, bad for the environment and really bothers everyone else.

3. Keep on eating copious quantities of greens

Illustrative photo by Viktor Kochetkov via

Forget the Land of Milk and Honey. Israel is more like the Land of Salad. No Israeli meal is considered complete without some vegetables – breakfast included – and plain sliced watermelon makes for a perfectly acceptable dessert. Now here’s a habit definitely worth keeping.

4. Cut down on the burekas. And the malawach. And the pita bread.

Burekas are best enjoyed in moderation. Photo by John Theodor via

While Israelis do eat a lot of salad, they also have a (very) soft spot for simple carbs. Every single one of Israel’s ethnic communities boasts a traditional specialty dough – be it bread, blintzes or pie. And while there’s nothing wrong with the odd treat, it’s high time to take those laden bureka trays off the table.

5. Stop driving like crazy

Israeli roads can be a truly terrifying experience. The speed limit is completely ignored, drivers cut you from all directions and everyone is on their phones – and the results are deadly. Over 200 people were killed and almost 1,500 people were badly injured in car accidents from January to September 2018 alone. Let’s try and make 2019 a safer year for all.

6. Don’t stop doing family dinners

An Israeli family enjoys dinner together. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90

Israelis are really into their families. While elsewhere in the world people often see their relatives once or twice a year, Israeli families like to get together as often as possible. Be it Friday night dinner, birthdays or holiday celebrations, there’s always a reason to catch up with loved ones. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

7. Discover the world

Ancient temple ruins at Gadi Sagar Lake in northern India. Photo by Roop Dey via

Go anywhere in the world, and you’ll probably bump into an Israeli or two. Perhaps stemming from the tradition of lengthy post-army trips, Israelis are really keen travelers. If only they’d stop being so disappointed to find fellow countrymen wherever they go.

8. Let people practice their Hebrew

This one’s familiar to all those who’ve tried making conversation in Ivrit while staying in Israel. You gather your courage, rummage your brains and tentatively ask a question in halting, accented Hebrew, only to be answered in a rapid stream of English. Far from being rude about your language skills, the person you’re talking to just wants to put you at ease. But don’t be deterred. If you feel up to it, carry on in Hebrew – Israelis are secretly chuffed that you’re making the effort.

9. Keep your voice down

Yes, it’s impossible not to listen in. A girl talks on her cell phone on a bus in Jerusalem. Photo by Anna Kaplan/Flash90

Ever taken public transport in Israel? Then you’ve probably been privy to the intimate details of your fellow passengers’ lives. Medical diagnoses, love lives and politics are all discussed in high-volume in Israel. And while the person loudly describing their piles on the phone might not mind sharing that information, we’d really rather not know.

10. Be kind

Photo by Shutterstock.

Israelis often come across as brash and short-tempered. But they are actually some of the kindest people in the world. Just take a look at all the people carrying elderly strangers’ shopping, holding others’ babies for them in line or insisting that you come over for dinner after knowing you a full minute. Let’s carry on this spirit of kindness to make 2019 the best year yet.

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