In my ten years of living in Israel, I like many, have tried to unlock the mystery of the Israeli mentality. While this task may prove futile, it is hard to resist the temptation. One recent night, I was trying to help my husband push my stalled car into our driveway. What I have learned is typical behavior, a total stranger stopped his car, approached us and started pushing (and it's a good thing because I'm not as strong as I look). It was one of those moments that floods your heart with warm feelings for Israel and Israelis. Unlike in most other countries, complete strangers here will stop to help you. Aside from wanting to perform a good deed, Israelis love being the hero. (That's why the same guy who just cut you off will also help you back out of a spot). The truth is, Israelis are heroes and we often need to remind ourselves of that. They have faced war, trauma and horrors we haven't.
Despite that, it is the Israeli drive to be the hero, their willingness to run towards trouble rather than away from it, whether on the side of the road or in earthquake stricken Haiti, that defines them. That heroism can be traced back to the time of the Maccabim, who were not fazed by their smaller and weaker army and did not shy away from a challenge.