This Week From Israel: 3 Types of Israeli Optimism, Hebrew Vacation Slang, and more!

Hosted by IZZY founder Josh Hoffman, This Week From Israel is a podcast that publishes new episodes every Tuesday!

Listen directly below, as well as on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsRadioPublicBreaker, and Pocket Casts.

Episode Rundown

Topic of the Week: The 3 Types of Israeli Optimism

In Hebrew, there’s a classic saying: yee-hee-yeh beh-seder

It means, Everything will be alright. — a testament to Israelis’ unique optimism.

There’s also the expression, “We survived Pharaoh. We’ll survive this too.” as well as tikkun olam — “fixing the world” — both of which suggest one’s ability to overcome and improve the world around us.

When you consider that Israel has successfully fought eight wars since 1948, and regularly overcomes threatening neighbors and homeland terrorism, you can begin to understand why Israelis are so optimistic.

And no one better personifies the three types of Israeli optimism than Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister and President who served the country for more than 60 years.

The three types of Israeli optimism are:

  1. Creative thinking
  2. Courage to take responsibility
  3. Determination and persistence


CREATIVE THINKING

Since the State of Israel was established in an unorthodox way, all situations and problems thereafter had to be looked at from a fresh perspective that produces unorthodox solutions. To do so requires overcoming the fear of being different, of standing out, of being what marketing extraordinaire Seth Godin calls “a purple cow.”

Creative thinking also means we must understand that creativity is a process, not a result. Sometimes, the creative process won’t lead us to a definitive solution, but it will surely uncover new information — a mark of success in and of itself — which can be leveraged to iterate in pursuit of a solution.

COURAGE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

Dr. Itay Shaloni, in his book Israelism, has criticized the tendency of Israel’s organizational culture to treat things carelessly, without consideration or much thought. He argues that yee-hee-yeh beh-seder promotes disregard and even negligence that can be found throughout Israeli businesses and government.

But Israelis know that it’s not enough to say things will be alright. They must make sure things will be alright through hard work. Suffice to say, work ethic is a key component of Israeli business culture, marked by long work hours and a “let’s figure it out” attitude with every challenge they meet.

DETERMINATION AND PERSISTENCE

This stems from the belief that you are serving a greater purpose. And if you are not serving a greater purpose, you will find it difficult to persevere when the road inevitably gets bumpy from time to time.

“If there is one lesson my father’s life of monumental achievement can teach us, let it be this,” Shimon Peres’ son, Chemi Peres, said. “He believed that we are entering a new era, one of turbulence and uncertainty, but more importantly rests with us to uncover the optimism and hope to dream bigger and better and pursue those dreams until they become reality.”

Optimism is a way of life. It’s an acknowledgement that not everything is alright today, nor should we expect it to be. The world is ever-changing, and it’s up to us to embrace creative thinking, the courage to take responsibility, and determination and persistence to continuously improve our lives and those around us!

A Weekly Hebrew Lesson

Dead Sea Floating

As people start planning vacations again following the pandemic, I thought it’d be fun to tell you about the Hebrew saying, beten gav.

What do you call a vacation in which you do nothing but relax? In Hebrew, they call it beten gav. Beten means stomach and gav means back.

So when Israelis say they’re going on a relaxing vacation, they mean that all they’re going to do is lay on their stomach and back the whole time.

IZZY Updates

Starting this Thursday, June 24th and throughout the next month, we’re featuring some of the best student films from Ariel University on IZZY!

Israel is considered to have the most film schools per capita, and many Israeli student films go on to win awards at local and international festivals. (Some even become feature films and TV series.)

Every three months, we’ll feature a different film school on IZZY, and starting this Thursday, enjoy our selection of Ariel University student films.

Someone Special

Noga Erez is an Israeli singer, songwriter and producer. She studied composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and served as a soldier in an Israel Defence Forces’ military band.

Noga’s first single, “Toy,” received a rave review from The New York Times: “the Israeli singer and electronic-music producer Noga Erez gives ‘Toy’ a beat that jitters and heaves, ratchets across the stereo field, speeds up fitfully and stops for a moment of dead silence halfway through the song; the melodies are brief modal phrases hinting at Middle Eastern origins… It’s a sparse, thorny, unstable track — and haunting, too.”

In 2017, her song “Dance While You Shoot” was used by Apple in an advertising campaign for its music streaming service. And in an interview with The Guardian, Noga describes her songs as her way to “process the issues that bother me about the world.”

Be sure to check out Noga Erez.

One Good Thing

Photo by Bettini Photo

Israeli champ Omer Goldstein to race in Tour de France, from our friends at ISRAEL21c

Team Israel Start-Up Nation announced that two-time Israeli national cycling champion Omer Goldstein, 24, will race for the team in the Tour de France.

It will be Omer’s first time on the most prominent racing stage in the world.

In every stage that he raced this year – from the UAE Tour to the Tour of Catalunya to Dauphine – Omer has proved to be one of the most aggressive riders in the Israel Start-Up Nation lineup.

He’s reportedly developed a special bond with Tour de France legend Chris Froome, who signed with the Israeli team in August 2020. They spent weeks together in altitude training camps and racing alongside each other in a four-stage race.

The Tour de France will run from June 26th through July 18th, starting in the northwest region and winding through the Alps and the Pyrenees, before finishing with the traditional sprint finish in Paris.

Tune in every Tuesday for a new This Week From Israel episode, and be sure to check out previous episodes as well!

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