Mixing Personal and Business In Israel

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I’ve been told by my American friends and family that one keeps ones personal life outside from ones business, meaning one simply doesn’t mention whats happening in ones personal life while “conducting business.”. It always seemed a bit cold to me, since what happens with ones family does in fact affect our “business…”

It was August  2012, when I was invited to Jerusalem to present my work to a company that was looking for a new website. I arrived late morning and was shown the board room where I started to set up my computer and was looking for the monitor cord to hook it up to the projector, when I heard in the hallway someone mention about an attack on the Egyptian border. Well my son was on that border in a combat unit, meaning he might be involved.

I stopped with the preparations and went straight to the internet to learn about the attack. At this point people starting entering the board room, the CEO, marketing people, business development, it was to be a full room. I looked up at them and mentioned that I heard there was an attack on the border, the CEO confirmed it. I told them that my son was there on the border and if they wouldn’t mind I would like to take a few minutes to find out where exactly the attack occurred. I had spent many many hours on that very border, knew where my sons patrol area was so I just needed a bit more info on where exactly the attack took place.

The marketing woman ask me which unit and if I knew the exact area, while I was giving her the information, I noticed that a map of the border area appeared on the wall, which made it even easier to show. The business development guy was on the phone asking someone for some details. Its seems that half of the room were making phone calls asking their friends, army buddies etc what they knew. It turns out the CEO was an F16 pilot, the marketing woman was active in the reserves in the south, the Business Development guy was from the commandos…..In about 10 minutes It was clear that the attack was not in my sons immediate area and that larger forces were already moving in the area – Golani (these guys had good connections). This meant that my sons unit would probably not be directly involved unless there were additional attacks in a different area (always a possibility).

At any rate, once we cleared up that, and I was a bit more relaxed,  I returned to connecting my computer to the projector and to start my presentation. Israel is a personal place and it was obvious to everyone in that room that before I started my presentation I needed to know about my son  (just as they would, in a similar situation) and everyone did what they could to help. It was a good feeling that here in Israel somethings are simply more important than business….and I got the job.

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