Basia Monka – BE EYZE KETA Maybe we will have coffee sometime?
“-Maybe we will have coffee sometime?
-Be eyze keta: friends, dating or sex?”
I cannot imagine a dialog like that in any other place in the world, but in Tel Aviv it should not surprise anyone. Alef – Tel Aviv is a big dating scene; Bet – Israelis are very direct; Gimel – the bureaucratic way of thinking in everyday life converts to social behaviors.
Arriving to Israel they teach you the first word ‘savlanut’ – patience, the second you learn yourself: ‘petek’ – a note, slip, ticket. Your boss will tell you write a ‘petek’, the post office will not give you your package, if you don’t have ‘petek’… Having a ‘petek’ is half of success. But there is no full success without someone to share it with, as they say. Let’s then return to more interesting point Alef – the dating scene of Tel Aviv.
As much as Tel Aviv is secular city, the tradition of Jewish matchmaking is in the air. And finding the second perfect half for you, your fried, colleague, for a person you don’t know, but you just met and maybe you know the perfect match for her/him, is part of everyday life here. If you looking for a job, you should not be surprised that your potential boss will start to advise you also on that. And no, don’t treat it as an insult or not professional behavior – it’s just part of the experience of living in Israel or at least – Tel Aviv. Besides, the Israelis love to give advice, it can be annoying, but they really mean well. So if they can give advice you on every topic, why not on the love life?
But as I’ve mentioned before, the bureaucracy is present in Israel in every sector and it has not leave the relationships free of it.
So the step one is age. “How old are you?” is, rude everywhere else, but often the first question asked in Israel. Why? Oh, I did ask why many times. And here are most common answers: “because maybe I know someone YOUR age” (meaning: maybe I can set you up with someone) or “I wanted to check if we have something in common” (meaning: not sure if I should begin with you). In the second case, often the name even doesn’t matter…
Step two: “be eyze keta” – literally meaning ‘in what sense’, but in the context of dating, really meaning… (again, like ‘petek’ has many meanings) if you want to be someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend, get married or in contrary – nothing serious, just have fun or meet a friend. Of course the culture of online dating has influenced it too, but I dare to say, the need of clarification of intentions, is the Israeli bureaucracy to blame for…
As I am an Israeli myself, exactly three years, I can give advices, too! If you are single in Tel Aviv, before you answering the ‘keta’ question, ask yourself and the asking one – what coffee he/she drinks? Maybe the coffee is not worth… any keta ;).
Photos: Basia Monka
23/02/17, TEL AVIV