This post is the ninth in a series about 25 years living in Israel.
Israeli’s come in all shapes and kinds. About 70% of today’s Jewish Israeli’s is born in Israel (or, before the founding of the State of Israel, in Mandatory Palestine). The other 30% were born somewhere else. Somewhere else can be anywhere else, and Israeli’s can be from such divergent places as, say, India and the U.S, or Holland and Iraq, or Russia and Morocco. Therefore, Israel is a veritable melting pot of different cultures. Yet, Israeli’s who are born in Israel are said to have something in common. They are called: Sabra’s. That is translated: Prickly pears. Prickly pears, or cactus figs, grow all over Israel. The fruit has lots of small, hairlike prickles that easily penetrate the skin and are hard to get out. That feature makes picking them, and peeling them, a problem. When she was young, an Israeli friend of mine used to look for a can, attach a stick to it, and pick them with that improvised instrument. Rolling the fruit in the sand would get rid of the prickles. If you survive the picking and the peeling without harm (I never tried!) you can then enjoy a special, very sweet and tasty treat. Today one can buy them at the side of the road or in the supermarket, already peeled.
Sabra’s are said to be like the fruit: thorny on the outside, but sweet on the inside.