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Israelispeak: The Quiz!

How well do you know your Hebrew phrases?

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(Len Small/Tablet Magazine)

Israelispeak is the way Israelis and the Israeli media use Hebrew. Behind the literal meaning, there’s an additional web of suggestion, doublespeak, and cultural innuendo that too often gets lost in translation. Every Friday, we reveal what is really being said. To view all the entries in this series, click here.

Israelispeak is rolling to a close, and as promised, here’s your final exam. It’s multiple-choice—or as Israelis would say, an “American test” (mivhan Amerika’i). Good luck—behatzlaha!.

Select the right answer below each question, then submit to see your score.

1. You just had a great vacation somewhere that is very much not blanketed in snow, but you have a red-eye flight home and an important meeting early that morning. Oh, well, every Saturday has a motzei Shabbat. This means:




2. You’re rich and you think your fiancé might be cheating on you. Maybe it’s time to have him sign a hatzharat ne’emanut. You’re thiningk:




3. Wife to husband: “You know that really un-PC joke about three Moroccan Jews and a mink walking into a bar? Maybe you should keep it to yourself this time; we don’t want to release the shed ha’adati.” The wife is saying:




4. You’re a civil servant and you aren’t earning as much as you’d like. That’s it, the time has come for a shvita. You are going to:




5. Your mom has been on your case about getting married. Maybe you’ll just tell her you’re planning to move to a hitnahlut in Israel. If you followed through on your threat, your place of residence would be:




6. So you’ve decided it’s never too early to get a leg up on next Hanukkah? Try making your own dreidel out of oferet yetzukaM. Your spinning top is made of:




7. Get rid of those so-called friends who are just dragging you down, throw a party, and declare your atzmaut. You are now:




8. Have a New Year’s resolution that you still haven’t done anything about? Just tell yourself that what you really meant was the Jewish New Year, which gives you an automatic extension until aharei hahagim. You may continue procrastinating up to:




9. Ever wonder why the Knesset Website has a section for “family ties”? That’s because on some days it seems like everything in Israel is politi, which can sometimes be another way of saying:




10. The Zune media player was almost shot out of the water before arriving in Israel, just because it sounds sort of like “ziyun,” a word you may not want to use in polite company because its dual meaning is best captured by this phrase:




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Shoshana Kordova is an editor and translator at the English edition of Haaretz. She grew up in New Jersey and has lived in Israel since 2001.

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Makeda says:

So sad to see this go! Come back soon!

The Submit button doesn’t work.

I’m with Tal – The “Submit” butto doesn’t do anything/take any action.

The button doesn’t work in Chrome, but it does in Firefox.

SUBMIT works, kzat savlanut!

9/10 without speaking Hebrew and only skimming the definitions – yeeah.

Dorit says:

Regarding question 3 about HaShed HaEdati:
Playing the race card means getting an advantage out of racial discrimination. Therefore, in my opinion, it’s not the correct answer. A closer answer would be “We don’t want to stir up racial tensions.”

I’ve said that least 888205 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

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Israelispeak: The Quiz!

How well do you know your Hebrew phrases?

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