2010-12-10

Israeli sense of hygiene

I have long noticed that my sense of hygiene is fundamentally different from that of so many people in Israel. I would rather not make any value judgement and say which is superior. But the fact is that I am the one who suffers from this difference, and not they, as they constitute the majority in Israeli society.

One of the most disgusting things for me here in terms of sense of hygiene is how people treat (freshly baked) bread. First of all, it is never wrapped here, which I can accept, but what disgusts me is that both sellers and buyers touch it with their bare hands, and some customers even examine it this way and decide not to buy it. In short, they treat bread as if it were a vegetable. This is the main reason why I stopped buying bread excepot for Sabbaths and holidays, but even then I buy wrapped bread, which, generally speaking, is not fresh, as I would prefer bread which may be less fresh but has not been touched by a number of people with their presumably dirty bare hands. Personally, I still fail to understand why they do not care about this custom.

The term "restroom" probably explains the essense of this facility where we spend a substantial amount of time in our live more clearly than any of its synonyms. Unfortunately, many public restrooms in Israel are not where you can have rest but where you feel like escaping from as soon as possible, at least if you share the same sense of hygiene as mine, because of their dirty condition. I still do not understand the strange (and disgusting) custom of discarding the used poilet paper in the waste basket inside a restroom instead of flushing it in the toilet. Anyway, a dirty public restroom is the default condition in Israel, and is also a "show window" of the sense of hygiene of so many people here. In a private house the restrooms tells about its dwellers more eloquently than anything else. And this seems to be the case at the national level.