The “Buddy System” is a service that Tel Aviv University provides, allowing international students to connect with Israeli students. Its purpose is not to treat participants as children, but to make the assimilation process easier. According to Keren, one of the talented individuals in charge of TAU’s Buddy System, it has been quite the successful year. She is active and passionate about getting people involved and connected, and it’s great seeing her beautiful smile at events. Keren and her colleagues organize numerous activities including rock climbing, bike riding, parties, clubs, drink specials, connections, lectures, and more.

Sadly, all good things come to an end, and the last N2N (Nation 2 Nation) event of the Buddy System took place a few days ago at one of Tel Aviv’s sought after nightclubs, Shalvata. Shalvata literally translates to “accompanied by” but is actually named after a mental institution. I find it the perfect description for the “balagan” that goes on there! Shalvata is located at the port, and is among the most ideal places for Israelis and international students to mingle (as is Clara, by the way).

I showed up fashionably early to the N2N event with two of my gorgeous (and yes, ladies, single!) friends from the Israeli Air Force. They, like so many others, wonder how to approach women at night clubs. They claim that Israeli women are unapproachable, so I decided to test the theory from a slightly different angle. I approached them myself! I wondered how they would react to a female, as opposed to yet another male predator. So I walked up to Israeli women with a friendly smile, and asked small-talk type questions, just to see their reactions. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the hypothesis, they were anything but friendly back to me. Is it because they see another woman as a threat? Or because it’s just not typical behavior and they wondered what the hell I want from their lives? Or because my breath smelled like whiskey? Perhaps a combination? When I think of the way I have been approached by men (and women) in clubs and bars in Tel Aviv, I think it’s really not that hard to do. Two tips: 1) Just be natural 2) Don’t be nervous. Everything is “sababa”!

When I hosted a radio show giving relationship advice on IsraLA (, an online Israeli radio station based in Los Angeles, CA, people used to ask me time and time again where they should go to meet partners. My answer is always to first examine your current circles and locations. More often than not, people go to the same places and see the same faces. Why not expand your horizons? If you are looking for a woman, go to places women go. If you are looking for a man, just walk outside your front door and BOOM! There they are. Just kidding. But seriously. I can’t say I recommend meeting partners at bars and clubs (if you are looking for something serious, that is), but I also can’t deny that in Israel it is different, and more acceptable. This is partially because the society as a whole is far less formal. For a visual example, see below:

Successful business men at a very important meeting

The Buddy System does a great job at connecting Israelis with international students; but somehow, even after all that melting pot assimilation, Israeli men can smell an American girl from meters away. After speaking with multiple Israeli men at Shalvata, they confirmed (surprise!) that American and other international women are more approachable. Who knew? It might have something to do with the fact that … Now what I am about to say might shock you or offend you. This is going to sound a little out-there, but try to just conceptualize for a moment: we non-Israeli born and raised women actually smile. I know that idea freaks you out, but get over it. Tizremi! Just a thought. The gentlemen at Shalvata were kind enough to act out the entire process of hitting on Israeli women vs. hitting on international women. I went to the Buddy party, and not only did I run into people I know (from my program at the university, the Buddy System, the bus, in the bank, in the street, at the beach, waiting in line, from my window to theirs in the car, from my living room window to their living room window, and every other ridiculous way to meet Israelis that you could possibly imagine in your wildest dreams, only these things happen by the moment in the reality of Israel) but I also got a chance to conduct research. Top that, Thursday night!

To connect with the Buddy System, contact them via email: [email protected]

About the author

Dr. Mishmish

MBA, MA. Have more fun. Worry less. Laugh more. Be good to yourselves & others. Grow, learn, and develop.

The greatest risk in life is not taking one.