Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Israeli Queuing

Busy SupermarketThe phenomenon has been thoroughly analyzed upon my previous visit to Israel three years ago (see here), but it's worth repeating the point if only to let you know that nothing has changed. This phenomenon I'm talking about is "Israeli queuing", or at least what passes for queuing in this land I'm currently visiting.
The numbers are unofficial, so at this stage I can only discuss the two observations I've had this very morning. The first was at this pharmacy I went to (got the Terminator conjunctivited red eye again): there was no queue when I got in, but upon counting the change left in my hand by the pharmacist the seemingly nice woman behind me decided that enough is enough. Starving for attention she pushed her way in and kicked me in my left heel as a bonus.
My next stop was at the supermarket (some Coke Zero was required in order to settle semi upset stomachs - the heat gets you in mysterious ways - while not adding to the escalating tally of kilos my stomach has been putting on since this trip of ours began). The staff was very helpful in finding stuff, a point I would like to make since I usually associate common courtesy with Australia whereas we've bumped into it in heavy quantities in all the countries we've visited thus far. The problem was at the queue: the guy standing behind me, half my height and size, seemed certain things would go much faster if he was to stand on my foot. He did it once and retracted his foot once he noticed the rather uneven nature of the turf; he did it again seconds later, probably because he was sure I (or my foot) spontaneously combusted during the past few seconds; he tested the theory despite what his eyes must have told him, but no - my foot and I were both very much there. The third time he did it my arm was semi raised in that Dark Side of the Force notion of Release Your Anger, but just then my time with the cashier had arrived and I had better things to attend to.
The problem, of course, is not that queues are slower as a result of all this messing around. The problem is the lack of respect on display towards fellow human beings, that feeling whereas everyone else around you is out to get you and you just have to keep on your toes (or someone else's toes). I argue this comes from the very justified feeling of prosecution Jews have had to endure throughout their history, but I will also argue there is no point in maintaining that feeling now that the Jews are the masters of their own domain. The fact the notion persists points directly at the heart of the maladies taking Israeli society down.

The image (that has nothing to do with Israel) is by Steve Crane, Creative Commons license

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