Know your Israeli passenger
The regular question on Independence Day - 'who is an Israeli?' – is hard to answer, as the Israeli has many faces. Ziv Reinstein, a Ynet editor and former flight attendant, describes another type of Israeli – the traveler who tries to sneak into the business class, but helps out when someone faints
In honor of the State of Israel's 62nd anniversary, here are a number of characteristics, anecdotes and descriptions of someone who is sometimes each and every one of us – the Israeli passenger.
The Israeli passenger gets on a plane and feels like a new immigrant, even if he has only spent one week abroad. "Wow! It's so good to finally hear some Hebrew."
The Israeli passenger stretches out on three empty seats on the plane, even if he's not supposed to sit there. "So they'll ask me to get up. What have I got to lose?"
The Israeli passenger tries to "sneak" forward to the more expensive seats. "Why do you care? Half of the business class is empty as it is."
The Israeli passenger asks the flight attendant for a glass of water before take off, and usually explains the reason for his request. "I just have to take a pill" or "I haven't had a drink all day."
The Israeli passenger has a refined taste, especially when he is served with meatballs and couscous for lunch. "Does it come with gravy?"
The Israeli passenger bought a plane ticket, and therefore thinks he deserves everything. "What do you mean there's no alcohol on this flight? I paid a full price."
The Israeli passenger apparently doesn’t know that there are trash cans on the plane, and throws everything around his seat. "We'll collect everything at the end of the flight." Yeah, right.
The Israeli passenger will walk into the plane's kitchen, see the steward eating on his break and disrupt his meal, politely. "Bon Appétit! Can I have some coffee? I'm in A25, okay?"
Israeli passenger wants gravy with his meal (Illustration photo: Carmit Reuven)
The religious Israeli passenger opens a synagogue at the back of the plane together with other religious passengers, and loudly recites the morning prayer while everyone else is sleeping. "Steward guy, come join us, we're missing one person for a quorum…"
The religious Israeli passenger reaches out to the beverage cart and simply picks up a bottle of juice or any other drink. "I just wanted to check its kashrut certificate."
The Israeli passenger must sample all the different Israeli newspapers before entering the plane, despite being asked to settle for one. "Of course I read all of them. Yedioth and Maariv, Makor Rishon and Yated Ne'eman."
The Israeli passenger "tries out" the entire Duty Free cart, asking to see, check, smell and touch the products – but settles for a keychain for his kid or a golden bar of Toblerone. "We have to bring something back, no?"
The Israeli passenger quickly gulps his glass of juice down and asks for a refill, before the steward has even finished pouring it. "And if you could add wine for the meal and a can of beer, it would be really nice. But don't open it, leave it closed, okay?"
The Israeli passenger knows his drink very well. "I'll have a whiskey on the rocks – but without ice."
The Israeli passenger likes to mention that his niece or the daughter of a friend of his is a stewardess too, so you must know her (although there are hundreds of flight attendants). "She travels a lot, she's in New York all the time."
The Israeli passenger makes his own decision that the flight is over and gets up, even though the plane is still moving. "What do you want? I'm only taking my bag from up there, that's all."
Israeli passenger tries to 'sneak' forward. Business class (Photo: Ziv Reinstein)
The Israeli passenger thinks an airline is a bus company. 'So, do you travel on this line often?"
The Israeli passenger finds it difficult to read the writing on the lavatory door ("press here") and ends up dismantling the door. "What's going on? How do you open this thing?"
The Israeli passenger thinks the travelers' body wastes come out of the plane and are scattered in the air. "Say, can I use the toilet on the ground?"
The Israeli passenger knows his "rights" and likes to insist on them. "They put a fat passenger in front of me and I can't watch the film. I demand compensation!"
The Israeli passenger doesn't like anyone to sit next to him, and if someone sits next to him – he should not be in the middle, and if he is in the middle – he should not have a haredi next to him, and the haredi doesn't want to sit next to a woman, and the woman doesn't want to sit next to a guy who flirts with her, and the guy who flirts with her doesn’t want to sit next to a noisy kid who interrupts his flirting. In short, everyone wants to sit alone.
The Israeli passenger thinks the airline belongs to your father and that you really care when he resorts to threats. "This is the last time I fly with you!"
The Israeli passenger likes to joke. 'Say, can we go out for a smoke? Ha ha…"
But on the positive side…
The Israeli passenger is also the first to offer to help when someone faints on the plane. "I was a paramedic in the army, pull his legs up."
And the Israeli passenger appreciates the small plate of hummus served for lunch. "This is really good. Can I get some more pita bread?"
And the Israeli passenger is the one who sometimes appreciates the flight attendants' hard work. "You were great, just great," and even writes to the management about it.
And the Israeli passenger is the one who comes to talk to you in the middle of the night when everyone's asleep and you're bored. "So you stay up all night? It must be hard…"
Israeli passenger appreciates flight attendants' work (Illustration photo: Visual/Photos)
And the Israeli passenger is the one who remembers you from the flight when you're abroad and helps you in times of need. "Hey, you were the steward on our flight."
And the Israeli passenger is the one who recommends a really cheap store he happens to know. "There is a store near Times Square which sells two pairs of snickers for the price of one, and on Mondays the entire store is 50% off."
And the Israeli passenger is the one who makes you feel at home when you're abroad and invites you to dine at his restaurant. "Drop by any time when you're in Paris. Here's my business card."
And the Israeli passenger is the one who trusts you the most. "Can you keep an eye on the child for a minute? I'm going to the bathroom."
And the Israeli passenger makes you feel somewhat proud. "I only fly with you, only with an Israeli airline."
And the Israeli passenger is the one who, despite the hardships of the long flight, smiles at you when it ends. "It was a terrific flight, thanks!"
So here's the conclusion: The Israeli passenger can be annoying, can act like an oppressor and a person who deserves everything, but he's also the one who understands you more than anyone (and you him), who speaks your language without forcing you to break your teeth, and you may have even dated his daughter.
But more than anything, he is an Israeli, and if he is an Israeli – it means he's also you. So next time you fly, remember: The toilet can also be used on the ground!
And what do you think about the Israeli passenger?