The first word, of course, is ‘Shalom’ – Peace Be Unto You. However you’ll find the second word very quickly – Chutzpah – because to Japanese eyes it is everywhere. This word can mean ‘shameless’ or ‘guts’ (both in a positive way). It took me a long time to get used to it and even today I still struggle with it sometimes. So how does it find you?
a) You’re queuing for the cashier in a Supermarket. Suddenly a woman says “I only have one product, so can I come before you”? You say “Yes”. Then somebody else with one or two products asks to come in front of you too. It is uncomfortable. Chutzpah.
b) You’re waiting to see your doctor for a check-up. Then just before your turn, a man says to you “I just need to collect a document from the doctor – it will be 5 minutes”. You agree and then he stays in the doctor’s office for over 40 minutes! Chutzpah.
There’s an urgency in Israel, a need to get things done and avoid hesitation. You can call it ‘guts’ but it’s a life force that also explains the innovation here. I’ve got used to it and now I like it. Bravo! Chutzpah.