Tuesday, May 13, 2008

British or Israeli?

Yom Ha’atzmaut triggers off thoughts of my own nationality. Here I am, an olah of 20 months. I have physically relocated. I (attempt to) speak the language. The junk food I eat is now falafel and hummus. I even succumbed to wearing Crocs. My Identity Card lists me as Israeli. I have an Israeli passport. To the outside world I am branded Israeli. But in my heart do I feel it?

The truth is that when I am in Israel I sometimes feel more British than Israeli. It bugs me that people can be so warm and caring yet have no time for day to day manners; for politeness; for queues. It is just not natural for me to take something from someone and not to thank them; to push past a mother carrying a baby to get on the bus before her; to ignore someone who I am obstructing and continue (slowly) without moving aside; to take a call on a cell phone while I am serving someone. It is all alien to me.

On the other hand, when I return to the UK I don’t feel so British at all; I feel conscious of my appearance, customs and attitude. I feel different.

So what am I? British/Israeli? Israeli/British? Just one or the other?

When it comes down to it, does it really matter? Aside from war or international football matches, when do you think of your nationality?

I think, having considered the choices, that maybe I am just Jewish.

Sharona B