Saturday, January 4, 2014

Israeli Standard Time

Well it's taken me nearly 11 years, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.  If you are visiting, or a recent immigrant, take a moment to review this handy guide I've worked up to save you the time and embarrassment of figuring it all out the hard way like I had to.

If an Israeli says...
"I'll be there in a few minutes."
...it really means...
"If I come, it could take me at least another hour."

Not my picture
If an Israeli says...
"Another 7 minutes."
...it really means he'll be there in half an hour.

If an Israeli says...
"Another 5 minutes."
...expect him in 20.

If an Israeli says...
"Another 2 minutes."
...expect him in 10.

And if an Israeli says...
"I'm here already."
...he's only 5 minutes away.

The other thing you should know is that events never ever start on time.  Unless it's a preschool event and the teacher is over the age of 60, then you'd better be punctual or you'll get a phone call two minutes after the time listed on the Hanukah recital invitation asking if you're still alive and well.

But all other events take their time getting off the ground.

Weddings especially.  I was recently the designated driver for the family of the sister of the groom at a wedding near Haifa.  She tells me the day before, "We'll have to get there early, you know, for family pictures and such."  The invitation says Kabbalat Panim (reception) at 7:30 and it'll take over an hour to drive there.  "So do we need to leave at a quarter to six," I inquire.  "What?!  No we'll leave at a quarter to seven."  It was nearly seven o'clock by the time we dragged their teen-aged girls to the car, nail polish still drying, and very few people had arrived before we got there.

What other differences have you noticed while on Israeli Standard Time?