Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, July 31, 2006
Have you ever sat in an audience with a group of Israelis?

Did you notice (how could you not?) the beat of their synchronous clapping as the crowd applauds in perfect unison with impeccable timing?

Nothing at all like the free-for-all ‘white noise’ clapping of an enthusiastic American audience that fills an auditorium.

Annoying, isn’t it?

Have you ever wondered why Israelis clap that way?

My theory is that it is a side-effect of the Israeli fear of being alone and unloved.

That theory explains why the Israeli behind you is practically on top of you when you are entering your bank code at the cash machine, it explains why the Israeli sticks to the back of your car even if you are the only two cars on the highway, and it explains why Israelis want the UN to love them even as they say "Um Shmum".

Israelis can’t stand to be alone and different, so they even clap in unison with the rest of the crowd.

A form of isopraxism, if you will, as they try to reach a unified synergy with those around them.

Scientists have actually studied the phenomenon and have come up with different explanations for the cause.

One study (done in Europe, as the phenomenon is relatively uncommon in the US) found that synchronicity vs. white noise clapping is directly related to the actual enthusiasm and true excitement of the crowd. A less enthused crowd will clap in unison, a genuinely appreciative or enthused crowd will exhibit much more white noise for longer periods of time.

Why do I mention all this?

Well, the Prime Minister just got on TV in front of a crowd in Tel Aviv and said, “There is no cease fire, there will be no cease fire, we will continue to fight and we will win.”

The crowd spontaneously broke out in massive white noise clapping that went on at least 45 seconds before it became synchronous. I have never heard an Israeli crowd clap non-synchronously for more than the 2 seconds it took them to find the beat.

And just now, at the end of his speech, again white noise clapping for at least 15 seconds (though some sounds of synchronicity were trying to force their way in).

In short, Israel actually and truly does want to fight and win this war.

I hope Olmert understands that this is what the people want and they support him in this (and not his convergence/realignment plan).


Anonymous said...

Intersting game theory.


Anonymous said...

I wrote about this a while ago:

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