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Israeli business casual: Part 2

January 25, 2011

This morning, after going to the income tax office to update my 2011 tax status where a middle-aged clerk wearing jeans and a cardigan very politely told me she didn’t know anything about tax laws for temporary residents, I continued on my way to work as usual and was alarmed to see a man — this time in wrinkled jeans and a faded black hoody — taking mail out of a large red post office mailbox in the middle of a busy street.

Luckily my husband was with me to act as a buffer between my American sensibilities and Israeli bureaucracy during my tax errand, so I was able to verbalize my shock and dismay to see someone so blatantly tampering with the mail. “What are you talking about? That’s the mailman,” he said, confused by my surprise.

“But where’s his uniform?” I asked.

“We don’t do that here.”

He then pointed out the large red official vehicle the man had parked on the side of the road. This revelation made me remember the countless times I’ve seen guys in street clothes fooling around with electrical boxes and transformers along the streets of my neighborhood — I thought they were good samaritans trying to fix something that had malfunctioned yet again, but it turns out they’re legitimate representatives of the monopolistic giant Israeli electric company. Again, without uniforms.

It seems there are new twists to the attitude of Israeli business casual around every corner.

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