Even Israelis cringed at a rude exchange on a flight from Tel Aviv to Bulgaria.
Israelis don’t exactly have a reputation of being polite. But even in a country known for its rudeness, some things cross the line.
Yesterday an argument over duty-free chocolate prompted nationwide soul-searching on local manners — or lack thereof.
A video making the rounds on Israeli social media shows a woman — followed by her family members — screaming at a flight attendant on Israir Airlines for not selling her chocolate. The passengers hurl insults and swear words at the flight attendant — calling him a “piece of trash,” an “a**hole” and a “son of a whore,” and saying “I couldn’t give a f**k about you.”
One relative chases the flight attendant down the aisle. Another asks, “What, is she an Arab? Sell her chocolate!”
The family issued a half-apology, and the airline isn’t taking any further action. But the video has led Israelis to take a hard look at the country’s famously brusque attitude.
“Let’s do some soul searching and think if we talk to people in this language on a day-to-day basis,” Bat-Chen Hollander wrote Monday in Israel Hayom. “Even if you never acted this way, it’s likely that you’ve seen it with your own eyes and ignored it. A shame.”
But American-Israeli Seth Frantzman, who moved here in 2004, posted on Facebook that the incident is part of a “brutish” trend in Israel. “Too much of the country behaves like this on a regular basis and sees nothing wrong with it,” he wrote Sunday.
And because it is, after all, election season, center-left Zionist Union Chairwoman Tzipi Livni tried to score political points off the video.
“The film of the ugly incident in the plane is igniting a correct conversation,” she wrote on Facebook Monday. “Documenting and publishing ugly incidents in the halls of government is called transparency. That’s what I advanced as justice minister.”
But no matter what the video teaches us, one thing we can all agree on is that it’s not Chocolate Bar.