Israeli businessman Ronnie Maman wants to teach his fellow countrymen some manners. Maman, who lived in San Diego for 26 years and moved back to Israel two years ago, has announced that he will award $60,000 to anyone who comes up with the best way to teach Israelis how to be more considerate of one another.
Contestants may submit their proposals to Maman’s Web site, www.derech-eretz.org, and the winner will be chosen next year. The contest was announced earlier this week, and Maman says that he has already received hundreds of proposals. Maman moved back to Israel when his son decided he wanted to join the Israeli army, and his son’s choice was part of Maman’s inspiration for the etiquette initiative.
“If my son wants to sacrifice his life for the country, I should do something myself for the country,” Maman told The Shmooze. “Many people unfortunately really don’t care for each other very much anymore. People became materialistic and angry. It’s worldwide, but in Israel it’s really personal because we have a lot of enemies and we’re all sitting on the same bench.”
Maman also cites his time spent in the United States as a motivating factor for launching the contest.
“I think that being in the United States for many years really changed me. I’m sure I learned much better manners. One of the things I really liked is people greeting each other when they walked on the streets. Here on the elevators, people don’t greet each other.”
He added, “People here have a lot of chutzpah, and I think that we can change it. And it’s crucial for Israel.”