"Destiny" of Bread in Israel

Though I have been living in Israel for about 18 years, it was only a few years ago that I became fully aware of the "destiny" of bread here from the moment it leaves the oven until it reaches the table. It's displayed on shelves by sellers, often examined and returned to shelves by potential customers, chosen and taken to the cashiers by customers with bare hands, checked by cashiers, and handed to the customers. In all these five stages the bread remains unpacked and touched by bare hands that don't always look very clean. In short it's treated more like an unwashed vegetable than like cake.

When I first encountered this "horror scene", I doubted my eyes. But as I've watched in my full awareness more and more of the same or similar "horror scenes", I've understood that this is a norm rather than an exception. And this will remain as one of the last things I would never be able to get used to in Israel. When I saw quite a few construction workers with really dirty hands examine bread without buying it in different occasions in different places, I stopped buying and eating unpacked bread here except for challah or another kind of bread for Sabbath, which isn't always packed.

Even this has become difficult for me after I saw a couple of weeks ago the most incredible "horror scene" since I became aware of the "destiny" of bread in Israel. One seller from whom we used to buy for Sabbath arranged various types of unpacked bread on shelves with his bare hands that had become really dirty after touching and arranging schnitzels and other unpacked deep fried foods on other shelves.

My wife has been telling me that I should get used to bread touched by many bare hands partly to develop my immune system as there may be many other, hidden, unhygienic foods here. In the meanwhile I've developed my new hobby of watching people who touch and examine bread with their bare hands without buying it, checking the way they are dressed, and trying to find a possible correlation between "actors" of this "horror scene" and their sociocultural background. I even saw, though very rarely, people picking unpacked bread with an empty nylon bag as I always used to do before stopping to buy it. Then I felt like approaching them and interviewing them about the "destiny" of bread in Israel and their strategies of coping with it by disguising myself as a cultural anthropologist investigating the awareness of food-related hygiene in Israeli society.