HEBREW TERMS FOR TOURISTS AND WOULD-BE NEW IMMIGRANTS
Every tourist who goes to a country wherein the local yokels speak another language (like Canada) is advised to have a little handbook with a list of the words you are most likely to hear and that will help you in situations you’re most likely to find yourself in.
Here’s my suggestions of the most commonly heard terms in Israel that you should know.
Atzabim: nerves, a case of the nerves
Balagan: mess, shambles, confusion
Boged: traitor, renegade, turncoat
Combina: artful manipulation or clever ruse, scam or Ponzi scheme
Dafuk: fucked up, non compos mentis
Hasata: incitement, sedition
Hotza’ah L’Fo’al: The Repo authority. Every town has one. Far north, out of the way Kiryat Shmonah is about it get one. If you need a bathroom nearby and quick just ask anyone on the street: Ayfo Hotza’ash L’Fo’al?
Ma’Am: no, not lady. Value Added Tax. It’s 17% here. Suck it up, bucko.
Maatzar Minhali: Administrative detention
Mayseet – agitator, inciter, firebrand, instigator, troublemaker
Mesukan me’od: very dangerous
Mesukan me’od me’od: extremely dangerous
Mesukan me’od me’od me’o-o-o-d: ultra dangerous (like sitting in a coffee house, for instance)
Overdraft: overdraught, overdraft
Pachad (guttural ch): fear
Pachad Mavet: something that scares you to death (like a knock at the door after you’ve posted Hasata)
Refurbished: an electric or electronic item sold as new
S’tom!: Shut up! (masc. but the ladies’ll understand too)
Tzava’a: will and testament
Va’adat Hasamah: The committee of social workers, and sometimes other pros, that met without legal mandate to do so and without informing you so that you couldn’t be there to put in two words who are now informing you, with the full local Mishtara in force, that they are taking your children away to an undisclosed setting. No. No. It wasn’t because you were abusive, or even that they think you are. It’s because they need to meet the local quotas of kids to put up for adoption or institutionalize and you seem vulnerable because your Hebrew isn’t that good.
That’s it. That’s all you’ll ever need to know to feel like a real Israeli.