Fighting against Insensitive People in Israel

As I feared, the relief I felt upon my return here from a very fragile society called Japan last week, or my renewed "honeymoon" with Israel, did not last long. I was sure that I would encounter insensitive people back in Israel very soon. Unfortunately, I was right; it was only four days after returning here that I encountered the first insensitive person this time. I am already too familiar with this specific type of insensitive behavior; I have encountered it so many times here. I decided rather recently to fight against such people both by protesting them on the spot with a harshest language and by boycotting their businesses if they are in the service industry. So I did the same thing to him this week, though I do not think his business will suffer from my boycotting it; actually I am the one who suffers, but my self-dignity is not for sale. And I am afraid that the list of the businesses I may boycott here will continue to grow.

Although I prefer Israel to Japan as a place of residence, this preference is only a relative one, or the lesser of two evils. It is true that professionally and when I am with my close friends and colleagues, I enjoy myself here (back in Japan I did not have even this professional joy), but otherwise I cannot say that I am very satisfied with my life here, partly because I encounter too many insensitive people regularly. What makes me even sadder is the fact that insensitivity is also quite rampant among the so-called "educated". Of course, there are also enough sensitive people here, but considering the frequency of encountering various forms of insensitivity here, I am afraid that it may be one of the characteristics of Israeli culture.

I am not sure which is worse, fragility or insensitivity, but as long as I live in Israel, I have to cope with the latter, which is becoming more and more unbearable for me. I know that we can only change ourselves but not the whole society, but I have to tell insensitive people explicitly every time anew that their deed and/or speech are totally unacceptable to me and explain why this is so, instead of simply ignoring them, which the wise would do, because they are insensitive to their very insensitivity!

When I still lived in Japan as a Japanese citizen, I thought very naively that Israel would be a rosy garden, but it did not take me long to realize my naiveness and, to be honest, also become quite disillusioned with a number of aspects of Israeli society and culture, especially after I became an Israeli citizen. I am also rather ashamed to admit this, but I am afraid that actually whatever society I may live in, I will always find fault with it and kvetch about it. This is one of the conclusions about myself to which I have come rather recently. But on the other hand, I would not be able to live alone in a social vacuum, for example, on some unpopulated island, even with the best Internet connection and two synagogues. ;-)