Valentine’s Day is our annual chance to signal how much we love someone or perhaps would like to start a relationship. Such gestures can be tricky, though, in a place like Israel, where cultural differences complicate the back and forth of romance. That is especially true for American-Israeli couples. Aliyah among single American Jews was up 9% last year, which can create an echo boom in romantic encounters between sabras and American singles.
Understanding the contrasts in relationship priorities can mean the difference between a rosy glow or seeing red. Here are some points of potential friction for American and Israeli singles starting down the dating path.
Fixups: Blame it on a relative lack of boundaries. In Israel, almost anyone will try to set you up on a date — from the mailman who has a single poker companion to the grocery store cashier with a lonely sister.
The Brush Off: Knowing how to say no to a prospective date is another area where cultural differences can complicate the dating scene for Americans and Israelis. Shai Tirosh is head of events at ConnecTLV, a Jewish Agency-funded project that helps immigrants with absorption and organizes social gatherings where singles can meet. He said, “Israelis will hit on girls all the time, and you have to know, if you want to, how to dodge it.”
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