Employee guide warns of overbearing Israelis
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Employee guide warns of overbearing Israelis

‘You may feel an Israeli is attacking you’ in voice, facial expressions and body language, Israeli-founded international gambling firm tells staff

Illustrative image of a businesswoman threatening her colleague. (iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of a businesswoman threatening her colleague. (iStock by Getty Images)

Israelis are direct, aggressive and unapologetic, according to an Israeli-founded tech company’s instruction manual training staff for good communication with other nationalities.

The seven-page document for employees of the online gambling website 888.com, which was obtained by the business daily The Marker, begins by warning that Israelis can appear very threatening in their speech and body language.

“You might feel that an Israeli is attacking you, or being very aggressive, because [their] tone of voice is louder; [their] facial expressions are more intimidating; [and their] body language is more overbearing,” the first page of the document states.

The training guide says that Israelis are also more likely to have “a more direct and bold way of phrasing” things. Where people of other nationalities may say “I think I misunderstood you,” an Israeli is likely to simply state, “You’re wrong,” and instead of saying, “There might be a small problem” an Israeli may say, “This is very bad.”

A representative from 888 said that the document is not representative of the company’s current policy. Naama Kushnir, the company’s director of human resources in Israel, told The Marker that the quotes came from “an old document that we basically no longer use. If we would do this type of training today we would change it.”

The document says that Israelis are very informal and often treat superiors as equals. Israelis may also ask direct questions that are not part of normal American discourse, including asking how much someone earns, whether they are married or have children, and what their religious or political views are.

Israelis often interrupt those speaking to them and are not good at remaining quiet, the document says. They may also seem insulting due to their forthright manner of speaking. Israelis are opinionated, especially when it comes to politics and religion, and don’t want to listen to polite dissenting views.

According to the document, Israelis often do many things at once, and employees shouldn’t be insulted if they start checking their phones, sending messages or having conversations during meetings.

The document concludes with a practical summary, telling employees that they will need thick skin when dealing with Israelis. They should not get insulted if Israelis hold private conversations in Hebrew in front of them or interrupt employees in the middle of a sentence. There may be closer physical contact than with other groups, and employees should not expect Israelis to be punctual or stick to timetables.

888.com is part of 888 Holdings, a publicly listed company traded on the London Stock Exchange. It was founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Avi and Aaron Shaked and Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak in May 1997, and in 2016 had trading revenue of over $500 million.

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