Word of the Day Dubon

This word refers to two different warm and fuzzy items, which can lead to some confusion.

Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova
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Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova

The English version of a Ynet article from this summer announcing the end of “Srugim,” an Israeli television drama about the lives of young Modern Orthodox (and formerly Orthodox) Jerusalemites, contains a sentence that makes little sense if you don’t know the source of the translation error.

The article states that the show exposed many Israeli viewers for the first time to “a ‘normal’ observant population – people concerned with relationships, work, and friendship – rather than ultra-nationalists running around hilltops with teddy bears and Uzis.”

Wait a second, you might be saying to yourself right about now – teddy bears and Uzis?

The seemingly strange combination is not meant to refer to the age of the settlers who lay claim to various summits in the West Bank and are collectively known as the “hilltop youth.” In Hebrew the combination isn’t strange at all. That’s because the “teddy bears” are actually dubonim, which comes from the word “dov,” meaning “bear,” and refers – well, yes, to teddy bears, but more relevantly in this context – to padded parkas, especially of the kind worn by Israeli soldiers when patrolling outside in cold places like the hilltops of the West Bank in the winter.

To ease any confusion between soft, furry stuffed animals and soft, occasionally furry winter coats, the latter are sometimes called “me’ilei dubon,” meaning “dubon coats.” The similarity of this term to “me’ilei parva,” or “fur coats,” has been given a parodic twist in the satirical slogan “Dai lahereg hadubonim!” I suggest you listen up, people, and “Stop killing the teddy bears!”

Teddy bears and uzis?Credit: Bloomberg

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