Saying the army is a huge part of Israeli society is about as obvious as saying that Larry David is a Jew. Since I made aliyah at the grand old age of 26, I was of no use to the military. Because of my lack of army experience, this sometimes makes me feel out of place in social situations.
I came here in October on an internship program, and was placed at the lovely English Improvement department at the Jerusalem Post. Thankfully, this was a pleasant time for everyone. I suppose it''s because I smell nice. The financial state of print news being what it is, my lovely scent is cheaper than getting an air freshener.
Towards the end of my internship, my boss started looking for someone to replace our Deputy Editor-in-Chief when she goes on maternity leave. Since this was about to happen shortly after my internship ended (and because I smelled nice, of course), he asked if I''d like to replace part of her job during this time. I happily accepted.
I was in the process of making aliyah, but was not sure if my papers would come through by my start date. So, my boss had to check with the Post if a work visa was ok.
Afterwards, he came into the office and shouted, "Good news! A work visa''s fine! Welcome aboard!"
After he told me the good news, he did something quite unexpected: he punched me in the shoulder! Although I thought this was sort of weird, I knew Nimrod was kind of a man''s man. I figured this behavior was friendly and not sexual harassment.
However, I knew there was something about this situation that I did not understand. I asked another editor if there was any significance to this whole punching thing? She laughed and said "It''s an army thing." She explained that when you go up a rank in the army, your commander punches you in the shoulder. Now it all made sense!
In the end, I was punched with love. Only in Israel can I say that and not sound strange. This is "sabra" at its finest.