Friday, June 28, 2013

Ice Ages

My husband and I visited Israel in 1978. 
Before we came, he warned me about ice.  Yes, ice.  He knows me very well (even then, and we'd only been married for 4 years).

I looooooove ice-cold drinks.  I cannot tolerate warm drinks, or anything less than brain-freeze-inducing beverages.  Israelis, he told me don't use ice.  Be forewarned.  He explained that having ice means using freezer-type electricity which is expensive. 


I mean the refrigerators are working already, and have freezers, it's not like they are installing special ice freezers.  But I shrugged and dealt with it.

So for two weeks I tolerated life without ice.

Our next trip to Israel was in 1997
Somehow the country had figured out that Americans like ice and had secured a good recipe and started having it, although not actually offering it. 

Fast forward to 2013
I am sorry to tell you that Israelis have not joined the Ice Age. I am sorry not for them but for me, because my visits to restaurants always require me to specifically ask for ice. Note the following experiences:

- My husband gets orange juice from a street vendor and asks for ice.  The woman says, "You don't need ice, the oranges are cold.  Here, feel one."

- I get a smoothie (which they call smoozie here, I have no idea why) and it is served room temperature.

- I ask for ice with my soda and I receive two - count 'em two - pieces.  I have to actually ask for more and get scowled at when I do.

- Drinks are NEVER offered with ice, you have to specifically ask for it.

So I cannot say that with all of the wonderful things Israel has accomplished, it has achieved a real understanding of the need for cold drinks.  You'd think that in a country that is about 90 degrees from April through October, SOMEONE would have thought, "Huh, I wonder if a cold drink would be refreshing right about now."

So maybe it is that Americans and Israelis have different definitions of cold.  Or maybe that old yishuv-type thinking is still so entrenched in Israeli culture (like closing all of the stores mid-day even though they are all air-conditioned) that it will take another generation, and lots of American olim, to change it.

Whatever.  For now, I am considering taking my own ice to the restaurants with me - what do you think?


  1. I laughed out loud at the orange juice vendor's response to your husband's request by "educating" him about the oranges being cold. Classic Israel.

  2. My dad loves ice too and has found the same problem in both Europe and Israel. He now asks for a separate cup of just ice and then will pour his water or whatever into that cup. Sometimes people think it's weird but it works much better than having to keep asking for more ice cubes! good luck!

  3. So many warm drinks in Europe and Israel!

  4. My mother is English and she has spent the last half century living in the U.S. and asking for "no ice please" in any drink she gets.