My Israeli Education, Day 1

by on December 12, 2008 at 5:00 am

last night, my plane landed in tev aviv, and passengers erupted into applause. the Israeli-born guy sitting next to me said, “Bet you haven’t been to many places where they clap when the plane lands.” i’d been in Israel about 30 seconds, and it was already clear this was a very different place.

we exited into a almost-totally empty airport, thanks to Shabbat. at
the hotel, i couldn’t order most of the room service menu, again
Shabbat. and just a few moments ago, i returned to my room hoping for a
diet coke and some nuts from the mini bar. it’s been cleaned out for Passover. never
mind that my room hasn’t been made up and my tray from last night is
still here.

in less than 24 hours here, i’m continually struck by how many cultural
things are exactly the same in Israel (down to the american tv on
nearly every station!) and how many things are deeply different. it can
be disarming and frustrating all at once. it’s in many ways exactly how
i expected Israel to be, and also very different.

i’m honored to be here for a week as part of a group of Silicon Valley
bloggers and techies exploring Israel’s culture and technology scene.
we’re guests of the Israeli consulate, and our blog posts will all be
collected here. aside from our own impressions we’ll take from this culture, it’ll
be fascinating to see how each blogger processes the things we see and
do differently.

i am one of the few in the group who has never been to Israel before, although i’ve
frequently interviewed Israeli venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. i
am also one of the non-Jews on the trip. as a result i’m not exactly
clear on why i can’t have a mini-bar at passover, even as i could order
any of the exact same items to be brought to me via room service. so i apologize in advance
if anything
i write is offensive, naive or just drenched in wide-eyed
enthusiasm. it’s going to be an exciting and perplexing week for me, and you’ll just have to bear with me! hopefully, i’ll leave with a much greater appreciation and understanding of this culture and its entrepreneurs. website down . similar sites . word cloud