vonzeev avrahami 27.03.2021

Oy Vey Berlin

Ze'ev Avrahami, married plus 2. Tel Aviv, New York, Berlin. Hears in German, speaks English, dreams in Hebrew.

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When the Corona came knocking, my German wife and I changed roles: usually I am chaotic, with my life all over the place, and my wife brings the order and the logic into our home. All of  sudden I became the voice of reason and she was out of her element. We sat one night and she asked me why is it so, and I told her that it is a mirror of the culture we grew up in. If you are German you are used to function within an order, and when something makes you change the route, it is a big adjustment. Moreover, Germans of our generation were not really exposed to anything that can threat their life. If you bring chaos into an order, chaos rules.

For us, Israelis, it is quite opposite. Since we are in general chaotic and live in a chaotic situation, the situation caused by the Corona seemed to us quite normal, and since most of us faced a life threatening situation at least once in our life, we took the pandemic also in stride. (Balagan in Hebrew means mess and you can apply it to almost any chaotic situation. It is one of the most used words in Hebrew)

I think that the same can be said about the vaccine operation. Israel operated well because it understood faster that it is chaos upon chaos. It did things and then it asked questions or asked for permission. Germany went Modus operandi. It went through the correct channels, distributed the vaccines precisely, and completely lost the trust of its citizens.

It reminds me about one of my favorite stories about German order. It was during the quarterfinal of the 2006 World Cup, Argentine against Germany in Berlin. It was scoreless at the half when I went out to bring beer for me and for the three people whom I went to the game with. It was my turn and I asked for four beers. Sorry, said the lady behind the counter, we are allowed to sell only two to one person. It was unacceptable but arguing was not an option because there was a line behind me and the second half was about to kick off. I ordered two beers, paid, crawled down, put the beers on the floor, then stood up, said cheerful hello to the lady like we never saw each other before, and ordered two more beers. She looked at me. I think I looked familiar to her, and handed me two more beers.

Germany won by penalty kicks.





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