69 signs you’ve spent too long in Israel!

In celebration of Israel’s 69th birthday this week, we’ve come up with a little list of signs that you’ve spent too long in Israel.

We originally wrote this list as a series of posts a while back, but have remixed and edited the list in honor of the old lady reaching the big 6-9.

Yes, just a little humor for those of you who have spent a little longer than a week’s holiday here in Israel, and who have in fact made Israel their home. And feel free to add any more to the list in the comments below!

In no particular order…

  1. …you no longer wait in line, but go immediately to the head of the queue “just to ask a question”.

  2. …you either start supporting Brazil or wear a Messi shirt during a World Cup.

  3. …you start advising your host how to cook his/her barbeque meat.

  4. …open spaces make you nervous.

  5. …you’re in a lift (elevator) and don’t even notice the guy yelling into his mobile phone.

  6. …you know all the words to the latest hit from Static & Ben El Tavori.

  7. …you no longer gawp at petite army girls with huge M-16s strapped to their backs.

  8. …someone says ‘snack’, you think: nuts OR watermelon.

  9. …you can’t tell the difference between a Goldstar and a Tuborg.

  10. …you forget what “please”, “thank you” and “excuse me” mean.

  11. …you have an amusing army anecdote and weren’t even in the army.

  12. you know where the nearest bomb shelter is located – and that it will be probably locked if you ever need it.

  13. …you think nothing about queuing to get into a coffee bar.

  14. …your second sentence upon meeting someone is “How much did it cost?”

  15. …you use HaShahar chocolate spread in copious amounts – in a pita.

  16. …you queue for yeasty products once Pessach (Passover) breaks.

  17. …you find state-employees helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.

  18. …you start to enjoy shoddy service and make repeat visits to a place where you are repeatedly shafted.

  19. …you wear flip flops to weddings.

  20. …you even start wearing Crocs.

  21. …you shout up from the street at a friend living on the fifth floor.

  22. …matkot (beach tennis) is your main form of exercise.

  23. …you talk wayyyy louder than is necessary.

  24. …you feel the need to express yourself in a conversation with wild hand gestures.

  25. …you use the “rega” hand sign (thumb meets fingers in upwards motion) at least twice a day.

  26. …all tourists look the same to you.

  27. …you hear Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ in August and don’t even flinch.

  28. …your annual Christmas party is held on Friday night (who cares what day Christmas actually falls on…).

  29. …you no longer bitch about paying 350 shekels or more for a concert by an “international” has-been.

  30. …you think nothing of eating in the street, humus dribbling down your chin.

  31. …you can’t put a proper sentence together in your native language.

  32. …you aren’t aware that one is supposed to pay for software.

  33. …a PhD in Nuclear Physics fluent in 4 languages is sweeping the streets outside your house for a pittance but he is from the Ukraine so it’s all right.

  34. …you use the word “Nu” at least 10 times when listening to a friend’s story.

  35. …you no longer ask yourself why there are so many jeeps in this country.

  36. …you can swear fluently in Arabic.

  37. …your family stops asking when you’ll be coming back.

  38. …you regard traffic signals, stop signs, and indicator levers with equal disdain.

  39. …you slow down when passing traffic accidents, just to wince – and make sure there isn’t any blood and guts on the road.

  40. …you sense somebody is trying to move their car into your lane in front of you, so you put your foot down and close that gap baby!

  41. …when trying to find parking, you send your passenger to stand in a space while you turn the car around.

  42. …you forget that the other person needs to finish speaking before you can start.

  43. …you arrive 30 minutes late for a meeting but still manage to beat the other meeting attendees.

  44. …you ask how much people are making and expect people to answer.

  45. …you are the last of your original group of friends still in Israel.

  46. …your idea of a larger home is an extra 4 square meters.

  47. …it’s 30 degrees outside but it’s late September, so you refuse to go to the beach.

  48. …you buy a thick winter coat on October 1st.

  49. …you wear your new winter coat on October 2nd, whatever the weather.

  50. …you hear the word “Winter” and instinctively want a Krembo.

  51. …you buy a car and leave the plastic wrapping on your new car’s seats.

  52. …knives and forks feel, well, strange.

  53. …you hear a “smash”, you automatically shout “Mazal Tov!”

  54. …you no longer laugh at the angles of scaffolding on buildings.

  55. …you wear body hugging t-shirts to show off your love handles.

  56. …you know enough Hebrew to make Israelis laugh their socks off.

  57. …you’ve killed at least 100 cockroaches with your favorite ‘killing’ shoe.

  58. …you look at the local women/men and start fantasizing about Scandinavian women/men.

  59. …you’ve seen Midnight Express, Hair and The Princess Bride at least 5 times each.

  60. …you know the words to “Hotel California”.

  61. …you shorten supermarket to ‘super’.

  62. …you’re presented with a bowl of sunflower seeds and think “yummy”.

  63. …you consult your English dictionary far more than your Hebrew dictionary.

  64. …you start a blog or website about Israel.

  65. …you get addicted to Israeli chocolate (oh my, you’re in deep…).

  66. …you start your day with a cup of coffee known as “mud”.

  67. …your “local” is not a pub, it’s a hummus bar.

  68. …you think nothing of buying milk in bags.

  69. …you can come up with 69 solid signs you’ve been here too long. Oh…


  1. Pingback: Leesvoer: 65 tekens dat je al te lang in Israël bent | Tom en Machteld

  2. Lilly

    April 14, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Thank G-d that only like two of those apply to me and I’ve been here 3 years.

    Oh and you forgot that Israelis think nothing of personal space – it’s a non-concept here.

    I can’t wait to get out of here!

    • Sil

      November 5, 2014 at 9:33 am

      So true!!

  3. Pingback: Yom Haatzmaut 2013 | See IsraelNES Mobile

  4. Debbie

    April 21, 2013 at 3:21 am

    Such a shame that the commenter above me had to share the negativity. I loved this list, just like I love the country, and living here. Living in Israel is amazing and frustrating, obvious and anathema, a land of contradictions and difficulty, and of warmth, love and hospitality. I have never felt more at home in any place on earth — this is not to say that I don’t miss the UK, but I would never leave, this is where I belong.

  5. James

    May 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    You complain that the drive from kiryat-Ata to Haifa is way too far but used to commute daily from Laurel, MD to Arlington, VA just to go to work…

    You take a bus from Jabotinski to Binkas because it is too hot to walk…

    Lived in Kiryat-Ata and Kfar Hammacabi for a short while as a youth; loved it. Not allowed to travel out of US now because I pay child support arrears and the Judge denied my request because he thought I would not return to this hell whole. He was right that I would not return, even tho I would still pay my child support as an expat. Be grateful to live in a free country like Israel.

    • Ashley

      May 21, 2013 at 8:21 am

      Cheers for those James. All the best!

      • Isaac

        February 21, 2014 at 4:13 am

        I’m making aliyah to Jerusalem in July, my dream is finally going to come true ;)

        • Ashley

          February 21, 2014 at 7:05 am


        • F Callen

          March 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm

          Mazel tov!

  6. ruth shemesh

    November 14, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I remember JP’s Dry Bones coming up with a list when I’d only been here a few years (a lifetime ago). My favourite one was “….you use floor tiles as a form of measurement.” Maybe someone has/can find Kirschen’s list and can post it, please?

    • Eyal

      April 19, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Ruth, I thought I was the only one who did that. Oy va voy!

  7. Pingback: DAY 30: Mazal Tov! | albeitmenot

  8. Red Cow

    May 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Ha Ha. #54
    …you know enough Hebrew to make Israelis laugh their socks off.

  9. Niels Hoffmann

    May 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Nonsens, You can’t spent to long time in Israel. Every visit I have made has been just way to short!

    I’ll be back!

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