Learn "Israeli" from the Amazing Race

First, a random question-- why does Egyptian President Mubarak appear to have a seder plate in the display cabinet behind him during his press photo meeting with US President Obama right now? (Finally-- proof for Egyptian extremists that Mubarak is a closet Jew!)

The big news of the day today, of course, is that the Israeli version of the Amazing Race will air the first part of its finale tonight. I never watched the American version of the Amazing Race, but when episodes of it do show up on Israeli TV, I'm struck by how comparatively boring it is. In the American version, the couples seem serious, focused on their tasks, competitive, steady... they are in it for high-minded reasons and they patronize non-English speakers in the countries they visit.

Israelis, on the other hand, struggle through with English not always better than, say, the Japanese businessman giving them directions. They teach Kibbutz cheers to South Africans. Israelis are used to dealing with genuine hardship, so they combat challenges on this race with senses of humor and willingness to wring as much enjoyment as possible out of the experience.

My two favorite contestants were Hadas and Inbal, the "blondiniots." (Well, after these women.) Yes, the blondiniots' official race portrait shows them posing in pink bikinis. But Hadas and Inbal are also two blondes who have served in the Israeli army, and they define themselves as "fighteriots." They gained my respect when I saw them shoot down clay pigeons one after another-- yes, Inbal screamed when the gun kicked her back after each shot, but she wasn't at all shy about pulling the trigger. I love this about Israeli girls... it's hard to explain, but there's something tough about even the most girly girl with pink nail polish riding the train... in her green army uniform. Whereas American girls can get by on pretty if they choose to, Israeli girls know to carry their own weight.

My favorite moment from this reel of "blondiniot" highlights is when they try to cut a rope by spraying it with perfume (containing alcohol) and lighting the perfume on fire... and eventually succeed by smashing a makeup mirror and using the shards to saw through the rope. Yes, they chose to carry perfume and mirrors with them in their race backpacks, but at the same time they don't hesitate to use these substances innovatively to get ahead. That, to me, sums up the superior toughness of "girly girls" in Israel:

Sadly, the blondiniot didn't make it through a recent elimination, although they were the last all-female team in the race.

Right now I'm rooting for Amichai and Maya, in part because Maya has a truly awesome name and is an olah from America... kind of. (I still can't figure this one out. She speaks unaccented Hebrew, but her vocabulary isn't very good. Maybe she has Israeli parents?)

I still think an all olah-chadasha team on the "Merutz" would be amazing. Anyone want to apply with me? :)

P.S. More evidence that Israeli girls have superior toughness... and this one is only 6! Wow!


  1. Thanks for the compliment...this is Maya from the Amazing Race...and I am an olah-chadasha..living here for 2 and a half years....I have been in America for over 20 years and spoke hebrew with my mom....so, I know it may seem strange that I have no accent in hebrew, but my vocab is limited and there is still a lot of mistakes in my writing...
    Nice blog by the way :-)
    And hope you enjoy the final episode ...
    Maya Kramer

  2. Wow, Maya!! I can't believe you actually commented!! Haha... it is so easy to think of people on TV as not real people, really reading the blog. We hope you guys won, and I'm very jealous of your Hebrew. :) Good luck! You were amazing on the race!

  3. Btw, isn't it incredibly annoying when people tell you that your name in Hebrew spells "Mia"? I get this all the time. In fact, just before my driving test yesterday, my instructor told me that my name was spelled wrong. :) Thanks again for commenting... you honestly made my day!

  4. Hello! I just ran into this blog...and I really like it! I am a graduate student doing research on TV format transfer and I'm doing a case study on game shows. Would you ladies like to help me with your commentary? I will be truly honored. I am doing academic research at a Paris University and your help will be much appreciated. :)

  5. C. Mangels, I'm happy to help. How can I contact you?

  6. Thank you so much! I will be happy to provide you with my personal and academic background. As well as some more information regarding my research.

    Here's my email: Claudia.Mangels at gmail.com

    I'm looking forward to this. :)

  7. 'dja ever notice that Israeli guys lose their minds for blondes, whether they be real or fake?

    'dja ever see the Hebrew ads on the ynet news website which says: "Love blonds? In LA they love you! Come to work for our Israeli company in California!!"


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