Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Up for debate

Normally, when one wants to prove a point, one must rely on well-thought-out arguments.

Not so, however, if one is an Israeli teenager.

You see, in lieu of traditional debating techniques, Israeli teens simply begin most of their sentences with either or both of the following two extraordinarily powerful expressions:

1) Chaver sheli amar (חבר שלי אמר) – Loosely, “a friend of mine told me that…” (Interestingly, in  Heblish, this phrase is usually rendered as “my friend said that,” which leads bemused Anglo parents to wonder if their Israeli children have only one friend a piece…) As far as Israeli teens are concerned, their anonymous peers can  – and often do – serve as legitimate and authoritative sources.

2) Uvdah (עובדה) - Literally, “fact”. The accepted Heblish usage is “uvdah that…” - which translates into English as “it’s a fact that…” In other words, a teenager merely has to declare that something is an uvdah, and like magic, it’s somehow automatically transformed into the indisputable gospel truth.

Many a naive Anglo parent has foolishly attempted – at his/her peril – to counter these unfounded statements with reason and logic.

But uvdah that when it comes to winning an argument, olim don’t stand a chance against their persuasive offspring…



  1. What about "All my friends, ..." implying "except me" that is supposed to make the caring parents feel guilty?

  2. Ilana-Davita - Yes! And even though it's a universal tactic, used by teens around the world, I think oleh parents are especially susceptible. After all, it's hard for Anglos to find the fine line between "doing as the 'Romans' do" and "sticking to one's own values and principles"...


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