If you ask an Israeli, there are two places in the world: Israel… and chu”l.
Chu”l, like every Hebrew word with a “choopchik” (double-quote) in it, is an abbreviation. In this case, it stands for חוץ לארץ / chutz la’aretz, or “outside of Israel.” (Sounds like “chooool.” Rhymes with “rule,” like the Golden Rule.)
And yup… that means, “every place in the world besides Israel.”
Because, you know, Israel is just so very, very big. Kind of dwarfs the rest of the world by comparison, don’t you think?
Well, okay. We know Israel is not very big. But Israel is a tiny country with a HUGE ego. A big sense of itself and its footprint in the world. Not utterly unjustified, given its continuing prominence on the world stage, but still… sometimes, Israelis do push it a little.
This happened in ulpan once. My teacher handed out a list of celebrities and we had to decide if they were “famous” or “famous only in Israel.” Some were obvious, like Madonna and okay, Benjamin Netanyahu. That was about it for famous Israelis.
I was trying to be honest, but I didn’t want to break her heart by telling her that for the most part, all the “famous” Israelis she’d listed would be persona non grata if they showed up in Canada or the U.S.