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Unlike WinZip, however, the pressure must be released. Not surprisingly, Israeli public discourse tends to be characterized by tension and aggression.

My initial encounter with this aggressive cultural ethos occurred the first time I tried boarding a bus here. Like any good Canadian, I waited patiently in line--or what passes for a line in Israel--taking care not to cut in front of anyone. When the bus arrived, I began inching politely towards the doors only to find myself smothered in the near full-scale war that broke out to secure a spot on the bus; I never did make it on.

This scene was replayed waiting to get seated in restaurants, see the doctor, approach the bank teller, and find a parking space. I quickly realized that, in Israel at least, the meek are not about to inherit anything. I've since shed my passive ways.

Example: I had a recent run-in at the bank with an old curmudgeon who left his spot in line only to return fifteen minutes later claiming to have reserved his spot with the guy in front of me.

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