Israelispeak is the way Israelis and the Israeli media use language: Behind the literal meaning of the Hebrew words, there’s an additional web of suggestion, doublespeak, and cultural innuendo that too often gets lost in translation. Every Friday in The Scroll, we reveal what is really being said.
This week: Study the terms below, then take our quiz! We told you there’d be a test on this.
aharei hahagim: after the holidays.אחרי החגים
Israel’s month-long excuse for getting nothing done—other than shopping for chicken and pomegranates.
Political party names need abstract nouns.
Filipinit: Filipino caregivers.פיליפינית
For the Christmas spirit, Israelis look to their Filipino caregivers.
hahayal hehatuf: a kidnapped or abducted soldier.החייל החטוף
Was Gilad Shalit, probably Israel’s best-known soldier in captivity, kidnapped or abducted?
hashed ha’adati: the ethnic genie.השד העדתי
A tragedy in Israel lets the ‘ethnic genie’ out of the bottle.
hatzharat ne’emanut: declaration of loyalty.הצהרת נאמנות
The oath of loyalty contains the Hebrew root that also appears in the word emunah, meaning belief, faith, trust, or confidence, often in a religious context.
In Israel, gentrification is about religion, not class.
Israelis have a hard time settling differences, let alone settlements.
motzei Shabbat: after Shabbat.מוצאי שבת
All good things must come to an end.
Oferet Yetzuka: Cast lead.עופרת יצוקה
What the Gaza operation and dreidels have in common.
Hebrew’s focus on how people become refugees—the push factor of being unable to remain rather than the pull factor of seeking safe harbor—may hint at Israeli willingness to tolerate foreigners.
In Israel, politics is not politics as usual.
Is organized labor protest divinely ordained?
tahalich medini: political process, specifically the Mideast peace process.תהליך מדיני
Headline: “Interior Minister: Palestinians Incapable of Moving Political Process Forward.”
The noun ziyun, meaning “arming” or “provision of weapons,” is also a coarse word for sex.